Gateway Gazette

Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven


Artwork by iconic Canadian artists from the AGA’s permanent collection opening February 13

Edmonton, AB — Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven opens February 13, and features both rarely seen and familiar works done in the Group of Seven’s characteristic style. This exhibition, comprising paintings from the AGA’s collection, welcomes viewers to enjoy works done “out of the woods,” beyond the Ontario landscape, from Caribbean seascapes, cities and cottage scenes to portraits, prairies and prints. The artwork on display will direct viewers away from the wilderness and towards issues of representation that arise in the Group of Seven’s works and legacy.

The Group of Seven was Canada’s first self-proclaimed organization of modern artists. Original members Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley, became friends between 1911 and 1913. Tom Thomson, though never a member of the Group because of his death in 1917, was an integral part of this circle. United in their disdain for 19th century academic painting, the Group began to present themselves as a landscape school after their first exhibition in Toronto in 1920. Between 1926 and 1932, three more artists joined—A.J. Casson, Edwin Holgate and L.L. FitzGerald. Together, they contributed to the relationship that now exists between ideas of wilderness, “northernness” and Canadian identity.

The Group of Seven are most recognized for their paintings on canvas and sketches on panel and board. Like the rest of their legacy, however, there is more than one side to the story. This exhibition features these works, as well as lesser-known works on paper, including prints, drawings and watercolours.

With the opening Out of the Woods, the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is very pleased to announce that Capital Power will continue its support of the innovative Capital Powered Art initiative for the next three (3) years until 2018. The AGA and Capital Power entered into this unique partnership agreement in January 2010, with the opening of the new AGA building. Under the title of Capital Powered Art, Capital Power provides financial support that enables the AGA to bring world-class art to Albertans. The long-term commitment establishes a stable environment for the AGA to plan for the future while raising Edmonton’s national and international profile as the vibrant cultural centre that it is.

“As a high-caliber cultural facility, the Art Gallery of Alberta is helping Edmonton develop a reputation as a cultural destination and Capital Power is honoured to partner with the AGA for another three-year term. This partnership is one of the ways that Capital Power is making a positive long-term contribution to the quality of life in our community.”  – Darcy Trufyn, Senior Vice President Operations, Engineering & Construction 

“The AGA is profoundly grateful for the ongoing support of Capital Power. Our partnership with this leading Edmonton company has enabled us the AGA to present 20 exhibitions of internationally renowned artists and works of art over the last 6 years. We look forward to working with them in the future, to continue to build our exhibitions and community programs, and to bring a world of art to Alberta.” – Catherine Crowston, Executive Director / Chief Curator Art Gallery of Alberta 

Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven is curated by Laura Ritchie.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and presented with the support of Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation.

Art Gallery of Alberta

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