We went to see Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries celebrates the abstract work of iconic Canadian painter Lawren S. Harris. The exhibition focuses on the evolution of Harris’s paintings from landscape to abstraction while living in the United States between 1934 and 1940. Harris and a group of his American contemporaries shared a commitment to the spiritual in art, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky and the Transcendentalist writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman. This exhibition runs from February 4 to September 4, 2017
The day started with a delicious brunch and then it was time to hit the road! My copilot was Chloe Sugar and we had the best time in the most comfortable Fusion model. We really enjoyed the features, lots of space, great sound system and we had the smoothest ride.
Once we arrived at the gallery we were greeted by the staff and taken to the exhibition:
Lawren Harris sought greater and greater heights as his career progressed; from mountains to states of mind, he aimed to go higher. This iconic Canadian landscape painter took a seemingly unexpected turn toward abstract art in 1934 – the year in which he moved to the United States, where he remained until 1940. Higher States frames Harris in the larger North American context during his years in New Hampshire and New Mexico, and features an important presentation of his US counterparts, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur
Dove, and Marsden Hartley. In collaboration with the McMichael Canadian
Art Collection – an agency of the Government of Ontario – curators Dr. Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens investigate Harris’s evolution to abstraction and demonstrate his integral role in cross-border artistic developments.
Like his Canadian contemporaries, Bertram Brooker and Emily Carr, Harris shared a profound commitment to “the spiritual in art.” Harris was part of an international movement inspired by Kandinsky and richly infused by American Transcendentalist writers such as Emerson and Whitman, and by the syncretic beliefs of Theosophy, which had long informed Harris’s personal beliefs. This exhibition, accompanied by a beautifully illustrated hardback publication, takes a new Canadian perspective regarding the exciting body of abstract work by Lawren Harris and his US counterparts.
After the exhibition, we had the opportunity to do an art class and create our own masterpieces! It was very relaxing and we also enjoyed some delicious charcuterie and drinks while doing it.
I want to thank Ford and the McMichael Gallery for an amazing and fun day full of art, friends and inspiration.