Art Gallery of Alberta

Douglas Haynes: The Toledo Series
June 27, 2015-October 4, 2015


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The Toledo Series is a remarkable group of 13 large-scale canvases painted by Edmonton artist Douglas Haynes from 1988 to 1990. Haynes was inspired by the paintings of 16th century artist El Greco, particularly El Espolio (The Disrobing of Christ) and smaller portraits of the twelve Apostles that El Greco created for the Sacristy of the Cathedral of Toledo from 1577 to 1579. A key artist of the Spanish Renaissance, El Greco is best known for his depiction of elongated figures, fantastic pigmentation and dramatic distortion of forms.

The Toledo Series marked an important shift in Douglas Haynes’ artistic production—representing a move away from earlier experimentations with cubist abstraction to works with fields of vibrant colour set within dark glowing grounds. While still fully abstract, these paintings convey a sense of the profound colour, dramatic light, space and emotional intensity that is seen in El Greco’s 16th century figurative and religious masterworks. As with El Greco’s paintings, the visual drama in Hayne’s works suggests visionary experiences, moments of revelation and the possibility of spiritual transcendence through art.

Over the four decades of his artistic career, Douglas Haynes’ work has constantly changed and evolved, influenced equally by the landscape, the history of art and the inherent challenges of his ongoing investigation into the creation and experience of abstract painting.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta. Curated by Catherine Crowston.

Presented with the support of Artist Patrons Sandra and Glenn Woolsey.