Art Gallery of Greater Victoria launches exhibit on Jock Macdonald

Jock Macdonald art Gallery's biggest exhibition of the year

He was a pioneer of abstract painting in Canada and an exceptional teacher. He influenced generations of artists. His stunning landscapes are national treasures. And for the first time in 30 years, a major retrospective of Jock Macdonald’s work is being presented.

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form is an in-depth exhibition of the life and work of one of Canada’s finest artists. With just three stops on its tour, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria will present this special exhibition, opening June 13 and running until Sept. 7.

Evolving Form tells the story of a naturally curious artist who explored the world through art. It provides a fresh look at Macdonald’s artistic practice and exhibits many previously unknown works for the first time.

The exhibition traces the unique and dramatic transformations of Macdonald’s artistic development, beginning with his landscape paintings and his evolution toward automatic painting (or painting from the unconscious), surrealism and abstraction while tracing his life events and many influences through excerpts from Macdonald’s correspondence, sketches, and a diary he kept while living in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, from 1935 to 1936.

“Visitors will see the progression of Macdonald’s work, the transitions in his life and career, the influence of spirituality, and his impact on the cities where he lived and taught,” said AGGV’s chief curator Michelle Jacques, who curated and organized the exhibition along with curators from the Vancouver Art Gallery and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa.

“The exhibition includes a number of Macdonald’s stunning landscapes of Nootka Sound, which are at once evocative of the Group of Seven and indicative of the emergence of Macdonald’s unique artistic vision.”

Macdonald was a supporter of other artists, including those he taught, and those he admired, such as Emily Carr – Macdonald used the little money he had to buy one of her small pieces.

Jacques extensively studied Macdonald’s life and paintings as she curated the exhibition, and co-authored an accompanying book, teaching materials and website.

“He was an ever-evolving artist who explored new styles and mediums,” said Jacques.

“Particularly fascinating is that he didn’t start painting until his adult life, and because he tragically died quite young, at the height of his career in 1960, he only painted for 30 years. Because he taught throughout his career in several cities across Canada, he had quite the impact on 20th century Canadian art.”

For more information, please call the art gallery at 250-384-4171 or go online to aggv.ca.