Tag Archives: Lawren Harris

Steve Martin did whaaat???

We live in a curious time, don’t we?  Celebrities absorb enormous amounts of attention in the world.  Some people are famous for the most unlikely reasons….but we won’t discuss the psychology of our society’s values.  Instead, let’s talk about Steve Martin as curator of a  Lawren Harris show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Yes!  Steve Martin, the actor and comedian (if you haven’t seen Trains, Planes and Automobiles you must find 90 minutes this week to watch it), and Lawren Harris, the Canadian painter and founding member of the Group of Seven…. a bit of an unlikely pairing, wouldn’t you say?


Nonetheless, The Idea of North is the first solo exhibition of Harris’ work in the United States. Celebrity has its influence!  The show is organized by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Art Gallery of Greater Ontario, and curated by Steve Martin.

The Museum of Fine Arts organized a panel discussion with Steve Martin, Adam Gopnik, (writer) and, Erik Fischl (artist) that sold out in 8 minutes!  (Faster than Jets’ season tickets!)  If you were like me, and wished you had been there, click here to watch it.  I found the discussion of the mythology of Canada and the north interesting;  Erik Fischl had some interesting insights into the reasons why Canadian artists/painters haven’t ‘broken’ into America to the same degree as, say, entertainers.  (We might call them celebrities…)



Emily Carr’s Wild Lilies

Wild Lilies

Whenever I visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria I always drop in to ‘see’ Emily Carr.  The AGGV has a small, semi-permanent exhibition of her work.  It’s a great introduction to Emily Carr, as the show describes Emily’s life through photographs and text. There are examples of art from the different stages of her life, beginning with her early student work.  I especially appreciate the inclusion of works by her contemporaries, such as Lawren Harris and Anne Savage.

One of my favourite Emily Carr paintings was not, I suspect, one of Emily’s favourites. Wild Lilies  is an early work, and very traditional….not at all like her later forest works, where she grappled with the challenges of capturing the spirituality and strength of the west coast landscape.

Wild Lillies is not only a beautiful floral still life, but has a beautiful history.  Emily donated it to the Sisters of St. Ann, in appreciation for their care of her sister, Lizzie, who died from breast cancer.  A few years ago, the Sisters  generously donated Wild Lilies to the AGGV.