In the tradition of the distinguished Douglas & McIntyre art program, this lavishly illustrated and superbly printed book is a rich, readable history of abstract painting in Canada.
The story begins in the 1920s with the sometimes eccentric but remarkable work, rooted in symbolism and theosophy, of pioneers such as Kathleen Munn, Bertram Brooker and Lawren Harris. Two decades later the Automatistes-Canada's first truly independent avant-garde art movement-burst onto the scene in Montreal. After the Second World War, the urge to abstraction spread across Canada, manifesting itself in significant regional movements. Vancouver painters retained a British flavour, while in Toronto, the Painters Eleven looked south to New York. Montreal's Plasticiens launched their own razor-edged interpretation of the European tradition of geometric abstraction. In the sixties and seventies, the Prairies were influenced by Clement Greenberg's post-painterly abstraction, while Halifax became a hub of conceptual art and concrete painting.
The book continues through the eighties and nineties, during which critics largely denounced painting, and concludes in the twenty-first century, with abstract painting alive and well again in the studios of Canada's young artists. A monumental tome containing 200 color reproductions, it mines a rich vein of art history ripe for international discovery.