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Jock Macdonald, The Black Tusk

Jock Macdonald, The Black Tusk (1932), oil on canvas [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Oct 18-Jan 4] Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver BC – Oct 18, 2014-Jan 4, 2015

Jock Macdonald, Etheric Form

Jock Macdonald, Etheric Form (1934), oil on plywood [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Oct 18-Jan 4] Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery


Jock Macdonald, Obelisk
Jock Macdonald, Obelisk (1956), oil on canvas [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Oct 18-Jan 4] Collection of the National Gallery of Canada


Jock Macdonald, Indian Burial
Jock Macdonald, Indian Burial (1937), oil on canvas [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Oct 18-Jan 4] Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery


Jock Macdonald was born in Thurso, Scotland, in 1897. His early training was in the applied arts and advertising. After working in England as a fabric designer and a teacher, he left the UK in 1926 to take a job at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Design Arts. There he met the Group of Seven’s Frederick Varley, who took him on weekend painting trips and encouraged his work in oils. An attempt by the two artists to run their own art school failed, and in 1935 Macdonald moved for a year to the remote community of Nootka Sound.

Macdonald’s return to Vancouver in 1936 marked the rebirth of an artist who, like his friend Emily Carr, was deeply influenced by British Columbia’s natural landscape and First Nations culture. However, it was only after another Group of Seven artist, Lawren Harris, introduced Macdonald to the writings of Wassily Kandinsky in the early 1940s that Macdonald found his voice as a painter.

In this first major retrospective of Macdonald’s work in over 30 years, curated by Ian M. Thom, Michelle Jacques and Linda Jansma, the focus is on an artistic practice that underwent several transitions: from design to art; from figuration to abstraction; and from studios and classrooms on the West Coast to those in Calgary and, ultimately, Toronto, where Macdonald was instrumental in founding another artistic school, Painters Eleven.

Michael Turner






















































Jock Macdonald, Orange Bird

Jock Macdonald, Orange Bird (1946), watercolour, ink on paper [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Oct 18-Jan 4] Collection of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery


 Sun, Nov 9, 2014