Subject/Object/Process: Works from the permanent collection

February 1 to January 2, 2022

Léon Bellefleur, Ronald Bloor, David Bolduc, Jack Bush, L. L. FitzGerald, Tom Hodgson, Fernand Leduc, Jock Macdonald, Ron Martin, L. A. C. Panton, Jean-Paul Riopelle, William Ronald, David Urban

Abstract painting exists free from the boundaries of what we can see or touch in our everyday lives. In place of rendering what is tangible, landscape or figures for example, artists often use abstraction to focus on what does not have a physical presence, the intangible. With the freedom to paint anything, abstractionists sometimes chose nothing, no thing that is. Their focus may be on expressing emotion, or aesthetic concerns such as the elements of design or the juxtaposition of colours. Many abstract artists produce works that explore the process of creation itself, concentrating, perhaps, on the ways in which paint is applied to a canvas.

Subject/Object/ Process, features works, all from the Varley Art Gallery of Markham’s permanent collection, that were created by artists with diverse understandings of, and approaches to, abstraction. Using humour, the exhibition strives to offer insights into these various approaches and invites viewers to consider how the meaning of the words “subject,” “object,” and “process,” might affect our understanding of the works on display.

Curated by Madeleine Bognar and Anik Glaude


Also on view in the Collections Gallery is a display of works by F. H. Varley.

F. H. Varley (1881–1969) is a founding member of the famed Group of Seven and is known as one of Canada’s foremost portrait painters. The works here on display are drawn from our permanent collection and help illustrate the different types of works he created during the course of his career.

We acknowledge the ongoing support of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham in the development, exhibition, and conservation of our permanent collection.

Image credits: Toni Hafkenscheid

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