PRINT September 1968

Looking at Canadian Art

IF THERE IS A SINGLE reason why provincial painting is derivative, it probably lies with the nature of painting itself—more specifically with its resistance to conveying its quality in reproduction. As a result, young painters in the provinces too often paint in terms of what they imagine to be essential only to find that their imaginations are distracted by secondary rather than primary pictorial issues. Perhaps, however, the present situation in Canadian art can be rephrased in terms of a current cliché: that since the late ’50s Canadian artists have looked to New York for inspiration. New York is a fact in the existence of young artists today: it can be neither ignored nor defeated; it is there, like Everest. On the one hand this is gratifying to Canadian artists because it is handier than Paris and because of Canada’s affinity with the United States, yet to affirm this is to evade the

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