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Edwin Holgate, Fire Ranger

Edwin Holgate, Fire Ranger (1926), detail, oil on canvas [Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, May 9-Jul 19]

A Story of Canadian Art
(As Told by the Hart House Art Collection)

Kelowna Art Gallery
Kelowna BC – May 9-Jul 19, 2015

As little as 30 years ago, an exhibition title like this one might have with “The” in place of “A.” Certainly this was true in the first half of the 20th century, when Canadians were eager to distinguish themselves from their British and American counterparts through a distinctly Canadian Modernism – a breakthrough achieved by the Group of Seven and their unaffiliated contemporaries David Milne and Tom Thomson.

Rather than re-inscribe this foundational moment, independent curator Christine Boyanoski gives us a survey that, while including these painters, also includes a number female artists who were active at that time. Indeed, A Story of Canadian Art marks the first instance in which the work of artists such as Prudence Heward, Lilias Torrance Newton, and Paraskeva Clark have appeared in Kelowna.

Although Boyanoski’s academic research is concerned with modern Canadian art in the context of British imperialism, the strength of this exhibition lies in its gender distinctions. While the men were responsible for painting vast landscapes, this is because they, as men, had access to them. For women, the view was more often limited to the parlour, the front gate and the surrounding town.

Michael Turner

Arthur Lismer, Isles of Spruce

Arthur LismerIsles of Spruce (1922), oil on canvas [Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, May 9-Jul 19]

Yvonne Housser, South Shore, Quebec

Yvonne Housser, South Shore, Quebec (1933), oil on canvas [Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, May 9-Jul 19]

 Mon, Jun 8, 2015