Art Gallery of Alberta

Lawren Harris Abstractions
March 26-September 11, 2011


image credits [click to view]


Nature Rhythms, c.1950
oil on canvas
Gift of the estate of Bess Harris, and of the  
three children of Lawren S. Harris, 1973;  
National Gallery of Canada



Lawren Stewart Harris was a founding member of the Group of Seven and the first president of the Canadian Group of Painters. Widely known for his early scenes of urban Toronto, Harris championed the creation of a uniquely Canadian identity for art.  Throughout his work, Lawren Harris attempt to capture the spiritual essence of nature through increasingly simplified, archetypal forms.

Known largely for his affiliation with the landscape paintings of the Group of Seven, Harris was also instrumental in the development of abstraction in Canadian painting. His career presents us with an interesting narrative of creative change — from a vigorous commitment to landscape painting in the early decades of the 20th century to a shift to non-objective abstraction in the 1930s that was fuelled by the combined influences of mysticism and the work of European contemporaries.

This exhibition, Lawren Harris Abstractions, features 16 works on loan from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada paired with 6 works from the Art Gallery of Alberta collection that were produced in the years between 1935 and 1952. The exhibition looks Harris’s shift from the landscape of reality to abstract constructions, influenced by the organic shapes of nature and the geometry of architecture. They are almost fully non-objective paintings that radiate colour and light.

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta, with the support of Capital Powered Art; an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation.

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