Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Frederick Varley, Night Ferry Vancouver
Because I'm trying to look at this group of artists from a slightly different perspective, I'm trying to choose paintings that aren't traditionally what we expect from the Group of Seven - no wild and beautiful landscapes - but buildings - or at least something made by the hands of man.
It was almost as difficult with Varley as it was with Thomson to find a painting that fit my criteria. It wasn't the landscapes that were the problem in Varley's case, he was a portrait painter as much as anything else and when you added the portraits to the landscapes, it was hard to find something else.
I picked this picture for two reasons - one because it is a Vancouver scene (both Macdonald and Varley lived in Vancouver for a time) and the other because I appreciate the way he transformed the ocean and the concrete into a scene that contains all the colors of autumn in a forest in Ontario, almost feels as if you could close your eyes and be somewhere else. And yet, for me, even though this painting was done in 1937, I still recognize my city.
That intrigues me - that despite the changes I see happening on a daily basis, something still remains about Vancouver that has been the same for 70 years. Great art like this captures an essence rather than a reality.