Where is Canadian Art going in the 21st Century?


I’ve been pre-occupied lately with the issue of who are the up and coming Canadian artists to watch, where is art going, and what is it doing. I had a handle on Canadian Art in the mid-century period and right up through until sometime in the 1980’s or 1990’s – I think I blinked and suddenly art became very hip, very urban and very much into the current popular culture in North America. I could be completely wrong on this, so please chime in and start a dialogue here!

Above is a classic painting by Lawren Harris who had a long and very productive life as an artist and whose paintings continue to set amazing records at Canadian auctions.

Below to show more of the wide diversity and time span covered by Canadian Art is a watercolour view of Lower Water Street in Halifax in 1823 – at this time officers in the British services were taught to do quick pen and ink and watercolour impressions to provide detail and as an ‘aide memoire’ in the absence of photography, which didn’t really come into its own until the last quarter of the 19th century

So, during the last few weeks while I did some heavy thinking and began to explore where art is at in Canada today, I did some posts on a subject I know very well – East Coast Folk Artists – and almost did another of those today – it’s still there in the back of my mind, so will show up sometime soon, never worry!

Today I started to do some very serious research and this is only the beginning: but the beginning is always a good place to start! You could do a lot worse than subscribe to this magazine or at least sign up for newsletter reminders to follow some of the content online. It states its mission to represent art straight across Canada.


There seem to be a lot of interesting articles – I’ll be going back later to browse through them – and you’d better check the menu at the bottom of the page to click through to the page where you can subscribe – I’m planning to. The issue pictured was their 25th anniversary issue and featured ten up and coming new artists: Adah Hannah, Kelly Richardson, Corin Sworn, Gareth Moore, Emily Vey Duke. Cooper Battersby, Valerie Blass, Jennifer Marman, Daniel Boris and Jed Lind. I will be googling these people soon. Above just to give you a taste of 20th century magic realism – a setail of a painting by Kurelek.

As I worked my way through a number of links I had found today, I was surprised at the range of activities and the range of galleries and places to view and participate in the arts scene in Canada. This link set me to wishing – for the stamina to go here and there, for the pocketbook to be able to afford to do so and also for the time! To distill my wish list down to one is very hard to do, but I think the Great Northern Arts Festival might be the one for me! Above a picture of Kenojuak and below one of her prints entitled “My Birds”


It looks like an exciting time and a very interactive Festival between artists and visitors – I’ll be watching the website for more details.


Next week, I plan to explore how you can acquire affordable art even now during a very stressful financial period in the world, and where you can find that affordable art.







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