acrylic on canvas
signed and on verso signed, titled and dated 1971
62 x 72 in, 157.5 x 182.9 cm
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Elan Fine Art Limited, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver
Ivan Eyre, Ivan on Eyre, Pavilion Gallery, 2004, page 90
In his approach to painting, Ivan Eyre sought to elevate content over subject, meaning his work is less about what is painted than how it is painted. Celebrated for his visionary imagined landscapes, Eyre’s fascination with the colours and forms in the natural world stem from his childhood. He remembers when, as a young man, he walked the banks of the Saskatoon River at sundown to marvel at the sky, and a new colourful drama unfolded every evening.
Considered by some a gothic landscape artist in the brutalist tradition of northern painting, Eyre is expert at establishing a mood. The spirit of Elm Forest is imparted by the mauve and blue tones of the coming dusk. Wild dogs add to the sense of impending darkness as they emerge from their dens, preparing for a nighttime hunt.
This is a rare, early work of Eyre’s which finds him moving from figuration to landscape. While he does not consider himself a pointillist, the foreground grasses show the stylistic development of fine brushwork which came to characterize his aesthetic. In the book Ivan on Eyre, the artist describes Elm Forest as “my first venture into a large, formatted landscape work.” This imparts a deep significance to this piece within his oeuvre, marks a change in direction and foreshadows his elevation into the pantheon of Canadian landscape artists.
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