News Archive

March 1, 2012

Doris McCarthy
Paintings and Works on Paper
March 3 to March 31, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 3, 2-5pm

We are pleased to present an exhibition of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints by Doris McCarthy from the estate and private collections, opening March 3, 2-5pm.

Young Fisherman, 1934, oil on board, 13.5 x 11.5 inches

Travelling with Doris McCarthy

For thirty three years we have travelled with Doris McCarthy. Well, not in the flesh but spiritually through her paintings and her words. We have been fortunate to share many of the paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints and sketches with Doris and to present them to her many aficionados. We are also pleased to have in this 2012 exhibition a number of rare works, most newly arrived in the gallery, representing many of the places, far and near, that captured Doris’ imagination and ours. Many of these works were exhibited over the years in solo and group exhibitions at private, public and university galleries.

McCarthy’s travels started at the age of two when her family moved from Calgary, Alberta to Toronto and settled in the east-end Beach area. During McCarthy’s studies at the Ontario College of Art, 1926-9, she spent time sketching and painting in Haliburton, Ontario, with fellow OCA graduate Ethel Curry and other peers. The sketching trips to Haliburton continued throughout her career and we have several fine works spanning the decades represented in this exhibition. In 1933 McCarthy visited Quebec especially the Gaspé for the first of many times.

In July of 1937, McCarthy made her first trip to Western Canada via train, sketching in many in Alberta and BC, travelling by boat down the B.C. coast to Vancouver, camping for several weeks at the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Some of these works were included in one of McCarthy’s early exhibitions at Wymilwood, University of Toronto in November,1937. McCarthy continued her formal studies with post graduate work in England at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1936. She returned to the UK and Europe during her sabbatical year, 1950-51,for a year of sketching and painting.

Farm in the Dagmar Hills, 1948. oil on canvas, 22 x 27 inches

In the late summer of 1948 McCarthy travelled to Maine where she was interested in a number of artists working in higher key colours. On a late October sketching trip she put the new colours to test in a number of powerful paintings including Farm in the Dagmar Hills, Ontario. She exhibited the work from this period at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in the winter of 1949.      

In 1959 McCarthy, as part of a collective of five artists, purchased shoreline property at Georgian Bay for her summer painting studio, where she worked well into her 90s. In the early 60’s she started her experimentation in hard edge abstraction.  Her Georgian Bay sketches and paintings figured prominently during most of that decade.

In 1960-61 McCarthy travelled again in the UK and Europe and further afield to such places as new Zealand and Jerusalem. 
McCarthy retired from teaching in 1972 and made the first of many trips to the Canadian Arctic. With her 60’s abstractions behind her she combined that experience and a synthesis of her earlier stylistic explorations to create many iconic paintings.  She travelled extensively for the next few decades including to China.  Her last trips to the Arctic and Ireland were in 2004.

Yawl With Clouds Moving In, 2004, oil on canvas 24 X 30 inches

Into Glacier Bay, 1987, watercolour, 22 x 30 inches

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.

Please note, on Saturday parking is available in the 401 Richmond building lot, located at the rear of the building. Enter off Richmond St. to the east of the building. The building and gallery can be accessed from the back entrance, off the parking lot. There is also parking available in several lots off Peter St. and on the north side of Richmond St, across from the building.