News Archive

For Immediate Release February 24, 2011

Doris McCarthy: A Moment

Selected Work: Paintings and Works on Paper
Co-Curated by Katrina Enros

Opening Reception: March 1, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Doris McCarthy, Grass Tuffs, 1966 oil on canvas, 30” x 24”

The Wynick/Tuck Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Doris McCarthy: A Moment, an exhibition of selected works of the artist.

McCarthy passed away last November, leaving behind an impressive legacy. In her final year, McCarthy celebrated not only her one hundredth birthday, but also the opening of a major retrospective entitled Roughing It in the Bush, curated by Nancy Campbell and presented concurrently at the Doris McCarthy Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre. While Campbell’s exhibition focused on McCarthy’s oils and acrylics, A Moment endeavours to take a closer look at her works on paper: sketches, watercolours, and prints, in conjunction with selected oil paintings. The artist went to great lengths to make certain her life was remembered and full. The title of the exhibition, A Moment, recognizes this drive: to record all the fleeting moments—not to aggrandize, but to appreciate for their worth.

McCarthy’s body of work, while decidedly about her relationship to the landscape, is also about the people that informed her practice. While figures are frequently absent from her paintings, her three autobiographies clearly indicate to what extent friends, family, and her obligations as a teacher and mentor, informed her travels and drove the direction of her output. Her works on paper best represent her attempts to capture those significant, yet ephemeral, life moments. From the Curry images created during her first major sketching trip at North Lake (1932), to her swift pencil-and-pen abstractions of the Georgian Bay landscape (c. mid-1960s), to her lush watercolours of the Chinese landscape (1993), McCarthy travelled the country and the world, deftly capturing the mood and colour of that which surrounded her.

As a complement to the works, items lent from McCarthy’s personal archives will also be on display.

McCarthy is the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, as well as numerous fellowships and honorary doctorates from institutions across Canada, including the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design. She was also named the first Artist of Honour by the McMichael Canadian Collection. McCarthy has published a two-part autobiography: A Fool in Paradise and The Good Wine. Two subsequent books, My Life, an abridged version of her autobiographies written with Charis Wahl and Ninety Years Wise, are still available at the gallery. Three major retrospective catalogues, Celebrating Life, Doris McCarthy: Everything Which Is Yes and Roughing It in the Bush, are also available.

Katrina Enros is a former Assistant to the Directors of the Wynick/Tuck Gallery, and the current Gallery Administrator for the Doris McCarthy Gallery, where she helps care for the personal and professional archives of the artist. She possesses an Hon. BA from the University of Toronto in Fine Art History, and an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Arts Administration and Cultural Policies. Katrina has helped to coordinate several exhibitions, including Exposures (2008, Agnes Etherington Art Centre), Ah...Decadence! (2008, Sullivan Galleries), and Egos & Icons (2004, University of Toronto Art Centre).

For those of you who may have missed Toronto Star art critic Murray Whyte’s year-end “Visual Arts : Top 10 “, Roughing it in the Bush was included. Whyte states, “Roughing It in the Bush, Doris McCarthy, University of Toronto Art Centre and Doris McCarthy Gallery, U of T Scarborough. There, I said it: An exhibition by a centenarian landscape painter is one of the best shows of 2010. McCarthy, who died in November at 100, has often been subjected to The Treatment: a devoted interpreter of our rough wilderness in all its heroic grandeur and therefore a national treasure. She’s a treasure, all right, but much as her stab at “hard – edge” semi-abstraction, which made up the whole of the show at her eponymous gallery at U of T Scarborough: colourful, dynamic compositions that play with form, colour and space with a palpable joy. But I’d pick this show for the catalogue alone, a gorgeous object in sky blue, embossed with a black and white photo of McCarthy in a fur parka, with canvas and brushes stuck in the snow, sitting next to an iceberg. Perfect.”