Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Celebrating the centenary of the Group of Seven

In today’s post, Emma Dennis, Deputy Discovery Program Leader, invites us to reflect on the landscapes, past and present, of Killarney Provincial Park.

When I was young, we used to play a game where we would stand or sit in a place and use our imagination to create an idea of ​​what might have happened there years before us.

At that age, our ideas were that maybe dinosaurs roamed that same area or the princess kissed the frog in that same place hundreds of years ago (and they lived happily ever after!).

Today I find myself playing a similar game while exploring Killarney Provincial Park.

However, my record of historical events is slightly more accurate.

Remembering our history

As I sit perched on the edge of a granite rock, looking out over the La Cloche Mountains, I wonder if the influential members of Killarney’s past sat where I sit, walked the same paths and appreciated the same small details. that I noticed on the way.

view of lake george

I’m sure many of us don’t take the time to think about the historical figures who may have walked here before us.

In Killarney, those figures could be members of the famous school of Canadian landscape painters, the Group of Seven.

Who were these artists?

While the Group of Seven is known to have painted in many different locations in Ontario, inspired by the beautiful and unique landscape, members A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.J. Casson and Franklin Carmichael were known to explore the La Cloche Mountains. and Killarney. crossing.

painting of mountains, lakes and forestsA. Y. Jackson (1882–1974)
Hills, Killarney, Ontario (Lake Nellie)c. 1933
oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. S. Walter Stewart
McMichael Canadian Art Collection

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In fact, the passion of AY Jackson and Franklin Carmichael led to the creation of Killarney Provincial Park when they petitioned to prevent the Spanish River Lumber Company from logging the area.

In honor of their efforts, two lakes were named AY Jackson Lake and Carmichael Lake. Additionally, Trout Lake was renamed OSA Lake in honor of the Ontario Society of Artists.

AY Lake JacksonAY Lake Jackson

Painters of the past and present.

The La Cloche Mountains not only inspired this group of painters, whose works of art became a symbol of Canada’s nature, but they continue to inspire those who spend time here now.

Local painters Danielle Gardner and Brian Atyeo are not only inspired by the landscape, but also by the Group of Seven itself.

Due to the group’s importance to Killarney and in honor of the centenary of its founding, we had the opportunity to chat with these local artists.

A journey of inspiration

We asked what the Group of Seven really means to them and what they think the Group means to Killarney.

“I feel an emotional connection to the Killarney landscape as the Group of Seven did,” Gardner said. “The Group of Seven worked to preserve the landscape of Killarney and without them we as artists would not have this magical place to explore and communicate.”

misty lake

When asked how the Group of Seven inspired her as a Canadian artist, she explained that the members of the group remain her teachers and mentors: “The application of composition, painting, the element of color theory and rhythm and The harmony projected in his work through different seasons and conditions continue to inspire me.

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“They help stimulate my continued problem-solving between what is real and what is stylized and fictional. What is the truth of the journey of each scene that I observe firsthand from within and reflectively in my studio?

sketchbook paintingA sketchbook painted by Gardner of the Killarney landscape using different techniques inspired by the Group of Seven.

Brian Atyeo shares similar views on how the Group inspired him as an artist and represented the area.

“This, the centenary of the Group of Seven, is a time of celebration and an opportunity for me to revisit the LaCloche/Killarney landscape for inspiration and direction.

SketchThis painting by Atyeo is inspired by the view from Granite Ridge Trail in Killarney Provincial Park.

“The Group of Seven played an important role in my early development as an artist, and Canadians are truly fortunate to have them as a cornerstone in the visual direction of this country that has adopted their impressionist images as its own.

“Wherever you are in Canada, I hope you will join me in remembering the Group of Seven on this: its centenary.”

Reflecting on the earth

AY Jackson and his fellow painters visited Killarney most frequently in the autumn.

If you are planning to visit Killarney this autumn, I invite you to take a moment and reflect on what the landscape means to you.

Do you see? How does it make you feel? Does it inspire an emotional connection?

lakeOSA Lake

Who knows? Perhaps AY Jackson sat where you are, reflecting on the land and the steps you could take to protect this incredible place.

I couldn’t have said it better than Brian Atyeo: “Wherever you are in Canada, join us in remembering the Group of Seven on its centenary.”