ARCA BCSFA CGP OSA P11
1897 - 1960
watercolour on paper
signed and dated 1946 and on verso titled and dated on the gallery label
9 3/4 x 13 3/4 in, 24.8 x 34.9 cm
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Sold for: $9,375
Private Collection, Toronto
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary
Private Collection, Calgary
Michelle Jacques, Linda Jansma and Ian M. Thom, editors, Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2014, page 39
Artist and educator Jock Macdonald was a pioneer in the development of abstract art in Canada. In the mid-1930s, Macdonald had already established himself as adept modernist painter of the Canadian landscape when he began to explore abstraction. Influenced by Lawren Harris’s theosophical writings, MacDonald sought a more abstract expression of the spiritual, immaterial aspects of nature. Then, in the mid-1940s, he met British Surrealists Dr. Grace Pailthorpe and Reuben Mednikoff, and received a crucial introduction to automatic art. The automatic process requires the artist to suppress conscious intention, allowing for totally unconscious creation. Automatic art was a revelation to Macdonald. In 1946, the year this work was painted, MacDonald wrote to Dr. Pailthorpe:
“Never can you know how indebted I am to you both for the awakening and releasing of my inner consciousness. Your coming to this distant outpost has been an initiation for me, into the higher plane of creative understanding – one of the most marvelous enrichment in my life. Definitely, for me, an eternal awakening in experience which my soul was seeking for so many years.”
In 1953, Macdonald became a founding member of the Painters 11, and he would continue to experiment with non-objective abstraction in various media for the remainder of his life.
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