Thursday, March 18, 2010

Talk about Motion: Pine Wrack by Arthur Lismer

This painting reveals a natural world, which as Tennyson once wrote, was "red in tooth in claw". The tangled roots look like the wrack of horns on an elk. And like the horn wrack, the tangle of roots helps this tree to survive, and to hang on against great odds.

Why does that line of red vegetation along the cliff, below the tree, make me think of a bloody red mouth?

The ruggedness of the terrain and the windblown stormy sky is the antitheses of the romanticized idyllic paintings of Canada painted by earlier 19th century artists.

We're deep into the new Survival Canadian mythos in this work. No more family compactism no more Bishop Straughans or Whitby Lady's Colleges, or lawn bowling or lawn crochet parties on a summer Sunday afternoon.

Arthur Lismer, 1933
Pine Wrack
National Gallery of Canada

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me a bit of some of Van Gogh's stuff. He certainly got a lot of movement and tension into this piece.


Thank you for posting your comments.
ATTENTION SPAMMERS: Comments with links to other websites, will not be accepted.

A message for anonymous posters: Comments will be accepted provided they are thoughtful and articulate.

Reciprocating comments between posters will not be accepted. Sorry - I have no intention of giving readers the opportunity to engage in flame wars. It won't happen.

Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy

The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//

Mission Statement
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.

Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.