November 16, 2018 – January 26, 2019
the body may be said to think
Works by Doris McCarthy & Kate WilsonCurated by Stuart Reid
The title of this exhibition draws from a quote in The Living Mountain by Scottish modernist writer, Nan Shepherd (1893-1981): “Here then may be lived a life of the senses so pure, so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think.” In nature, as Shepherd so poetically states, our body, and all its responsive senses, begins to holistically think.
Such a vibrational harmonic that affords communion between artist and landscape is observed reverently in works by Doris McCarthy (1910-2010) and Kate Wilson. Both artists, creative contemporaries for a few decades, share the passion for trekking and a good road trip. Both draw representational inspiration from nature and fuse imagery with motion, colour and depth, alluding to a deeper understanding of what is seen with the eyes. There is an intellectual reckoning with choices made in depicting the landscape. McCarthy is credited with the quote: "You are actually constructing... what your head understood about what your eyes saw." She asserts that the artist is a thinking body that is at once part of the land and apart from it.
This exhibition brings together nature-inspired works by Doris McCarthy, primarily from the collection of the DMG, alongside large-scale wall drawings, paintings and preparatory works by Kate Wilson. From this juxtaposition of two artists’ works, we cast a wide glance over time, spanning the previous century, but also encompassing a forecast of tumult in the current. The reassurance, for the viewer, lies in the artists’ ability to lead us past what we see into the realm of what we feel and know in our bodies.
About the Artists
Doris McCarthy was born on July 7, 1910 in Calgary, Alberta and spent her youth in the Beach area of Toronto. In 1926 she earned a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art (OCA) where she was mentored by some of the premier Canadian artists of the early twentieth century, including both Arthur Lismer and JEH MacDonald. Soon after graduating from OCA in 1930, McCarthy’s works were exhibited in the 1931 Ontario Society of Artists’ (OSA) Annual Exhibition. She was accepted as a member of the Society in 1945 and later went on to become OSA Vice President from 1961 to 1964 and President from 1964 to 1967. During this period, she established her position as one of Toronto’s major emerging artists and then as perhaps the foremost, female landscape painter in Canada. With memberships in the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists (1951) and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (1951, and for which she served as President from 1956 to 1958), her receipt of five Honorary Doctorates from five different Canadian Universities from 1995 to 2002, her induction into the Order of Ontario (1992) and the Order of Canada (1986), her place among the great Canadian artists has been solidified. McCarthy was a lifelong learner and graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough in 1989 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree.
McCarthy was a deeply committed teacher and community member. She designed the (then) City of Scarborough’s flag, worked to preserve the ecologically sensitive Scarborough Bluffs, and lent her name and talents to a variety of causes in the area. Today, McCarthy’s legacy continues at Fool’s Paradise, her former home that is now an artist’s residence operated by Ontario Heritage Trust for the benefit of visual artists, musicians and writers of all disciplines, offering privacy and opportunity for artists to concentrate on their work.
Kate Wilson is a Toronto-based visual artist whose practice is fluid between site-specific large-scale wall drawing projects, digital painting and animation. Wilson has exhibited nationally and internationally and is a recipient of awards from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts including the Canada Council for the Arts International Residencies (Paris). In 2014, Kate Wilson participated in the Ontario College of Art & Design University Digital Painting Atelier, Toronto, Ontario. Recent residencies include the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Program (2015) through the Ontario Heritage Trust, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2017) residency program in Visual + Digital Arts. In 2016, Wilson participated in On Your Mark at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Markham, Ontario. She has also participated in group exhibitions at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France; University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, Buffalo, New York, USA; HeK (House of Electronic Arts), Basel, Switzerland; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA, amongst others. Recent exhibitions include Chemosphere, a large-scale site project at the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia, Ontario. Wilson’s work can be found in many private, corporate and public gallery collections in Canada and the United States.
About the Curator
Stuart Reid is an award-winning writer and curator of contemporary art. He has held curatorial posts in major public art galleries in Ontario such as Art Gallery of Mississauga, Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Rodman Hall Art Centre/Brock University; and also served as Executive Director of the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina SK. He is a former president of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. A graduate of York University in Toronto, he also completed the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute training at the University of California at Berkeley in 2002. Reid is also a member of IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, Osnabrueck, Germany.