1927 - 2023
South of Battleford
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated 1970 and on verso signed, titled and dated
34 x 40 in, 86.4 x 101.6 cm
Estimate: $7,000 - $9,000 CAD
Sold for: $7,500
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Waddingtons Gallery, Montreal
Private Collection, Dublin
There is perhaps no one in the post-war landscape tradition with a more nuanced and delicate handling of light than Dorothy Knowles. As in this work, one of her primary subjects is Saskatchewan, which is known amongst artists to have exceptionally rich, even painterly, natural light. It’s the expression of that light to which Knowles has dedicated her illustrious 60-plus year career.
A central means by which Knowles deals with luminosity in this period is her use of media. These subtle washes of thinned oil paint have their roots in the “soak-stain” techniques of Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and perhaps most comparably, Helen Frankenthaler. Another commonality of these artist is some degree of engagement with the influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg. The same was true for Knowles – Greenberg attended the 1962 Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop in north-central Saskatchewan, which were initiated by Kenneth Lochhead and Arthur McKay in 1955. While history now most relates Greenberg to post-painterly abstraction, he encouraged Knowles to continue on with her representational practice, into which she incorporated the leading influences of the time.
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