A CANADIAN ABROAD
LIZ CHARSLEY-JORY is not a CANADIAN DESIGNER ABROAD, but she is a CANADIAN ARTIST ABROAD,
and her thoughts (and those of a few others that she mentions) on identity and being “tied” to being a Canadian, are of interest to me as I pursue “those creative” who have moved away. Also of note, how those born abroad see us!
an excerpt from:
Meet Canada’s ambassador to London’s art world
Special to The Globe and Mail
PublishedFriday, Mar. 08 2013, 12:40 PM EST
“They are images that, as a Canadian abroad, flood me with a deep-in-the-bones sensation of home. “You see, there’s a path through the forest, but it’s not clear where it leads,” she says, pointing to the large drawing of the British Columbian woods above her mantel. But looking at the light streaming through the redwoods, I feel the opposite of lost. I am utterly and gratefully found.
Charsley-Jory is preparing to mount her first Dulwich show, Bright Land: West of the Rockies, South of the Thames. Running from March 26 to May 19, the small exhibition is inspired by the 2011-12 Dulwich blockbuster, Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. That earlier exhibit, sponsored by, among others, Canadian art dealer Ash Prakash and this newspaper, proved both a critical and financial success – one that succeeded so thoroughly in its goal of raising the international profile of classic Canadian art that the Dulwich is now taking a more prolonged interest in the artistic legacy of our fair nation. There is another large-scale show of the work of Emily Carr planned for next year, and rumours swirl of a David Milne exhibit in the works after that.
Meanwhile, Charsley-Jory has spent the past several months teaching the art of landscape painting to students at the Dulwich, with an emphasis on the Group of Seven. “Their work is more vigorous than the Impressionists,” she says. “The lack of figures makes the viewer feel swallowed up by the landscape, as if they’re the only person for miles around.” There is nothing folksy or pastoral about these wilderness scenes, which seem “as regular as Kraft Dinner” to Canadians, but are, she points out, still fairly exotic to her British students.
While she says that all of her students have been captivated by the idea of adventure in the rugged, pristine wilderness, some take the notion to laughable extremes. “One woman actually said to me, ‘I didn’t know Canadians had time to paint – I thought they’d be much too busy hiking and canoeing.”
” We sit in her living room and talk some more about Canadian artists, old and new. In addition to the Group of Seven, she’s a fan of such contemporary artists as Canadian-reared painter Peter Doig, photographer Jeff Wall and sculptor Brian Jungen, all of whom, she points out, “have more international careers and don’t particularly want to be slotted as Canadian.”
Yet Charsley-Jory, whose work is more in a traditional landscape vein, is happy to identify as Canadian. Like an out-of-time voyageur, it has almost become her job to spread the word, and the images, of Canadian landscape art.”
BRAVO for spreading the word….
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED Friday, March 22, 2013