Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Comic-Book Canadiana: Clark McDougall at the McIntosh Gallery


One show I'd like to see if I can get to London (Ontario) this spring is Clark McDougall's Destination Places at the McIntosh Gallery. I'd like to see this show for a few reasons:

(1) In the painting above, I love how the grotty sidewalk contrasted with the pinball palace sign is very pop but very palpable
(2) I like paintings of mid-sized Canadian cities, in part because there are so few of them and in part because I grew up in them
(3) I also like what spins into a comic-book approach in some of the McDougall works I see online--thick black outlines, bright colour, pulp feel
(4) I know nothing about the guy--another one of those classic instances of "if only there was more contemporary Canadian art history resources out there"

Here's some more information about the artist and the show, from the McIntosh Gallery website:

With his signature style of vibrant colours outlined in black enamel, Clark McDougall (1921-1980) was equally comfortable painting urban and rural subjects to describe the effect of light in everyday life.

After years of painting in relative obscurity in St. Thomas, Ontario, McDougall garnered national acclaim in the late sixties and seventies when regionalism preoccupied much of Canadian culture.

Admired by London artist Greg Curnoe and curators Pierre Th├ęberge and Alvin Balkind, McDougall increasingly attained critical and commercial success. Mira Godard Gallery represented him.

The Vancouver Art Gallery mounted a retrospective exhibition in 1977. Another, organized by the London Regional Art Gallery in 1987, toured nationally. Avid collectors included Canada Council Art Bank, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton and, surprisingly, Henry Luce III, publisher of Time and Life magazines.

Curated by Anna Hudson and Catherine Elliot Shaw, Fugitive Light has been organized by McIntosh Gallery, which recently acquired a major collection of the artist's drawings, photographs and archival materials. A forthcoming publication will situate McDougall's oeuvre in relation to the history of Canadian art while examining the psychogeography of his regional subject matter.


The show is up to May 14. More details (like about McDougall being self taught) are at Michael Gibson Gallery and at the London Free Press.

(Detail of Clark McDougall's Pinball Palace 1978 via the McIntosh Gallery)

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