Vancouver Daily Province May 16, 1942

At the Art Gallery

B.C. Society of Fine Arts
Display Sets New High Mark

By Palette

     Previous displays by the B.C. Society of Fine Arts are surpassed by the tenth annual exhibition now at the Art Gallery. (sic: actually 32nd Annual, the writer is confusing this show with the 10th Annual BC Artists exhibition).
     In fact, it is not unlikely that the present brilliant show will be remembered as an eventful date in the progress of art in the province.
     Leading artists are represented by new and vital phases of their work and the element of surprise confronts the observer on every wall. Not content to rest on their laurels these painters have combined fresh inspiration with greater significance and technical skill.
     It is with justifiable pride, with a sense of coming of age, that comparison can be made with an important all-Canadian event such as the Royal Canadian Academy selective exhibition recently seen at the gallery.

     An astonishing variety of exhibitions includes nothing commonplace and swings from realism to the abstract or non-representational. The general tendency indicates an earnest endeavor by western painters to express their particular region and assimilate personal expression with aesthetic progress of the modern international art movement.
     Among leading contributors is Emily Carr with seven paintings, all of great interest with "Beach" as the major attraction.
     As usual her titles can be entertaining. For instance, "Somewhere" is delightfully vague as to geographical location but precise in a stirring emotional appeal of a woodland scene with darting sunshine.
     "Typically British Columbia" is another enchanting composition of the woods, also typical of the noted Victoria artist's genius.

     A large painting by Lawren Harris is in the latest style of one of Canada's most famous painters. This important work, which will be perplexing undoubtedly to many, forms part of a group of abstract or semi-abstract compositions by Bess Harris, S.E. Brunst, Jessie Faunt, and Helen West.
     Apart from their deep artistic significance, some of these paintings recall in their freedom of spirit, imagination and color certain passages in Walt Disney's "Fantasia."
     J.W.G. Macdonald's "8000 Feet Up" reveals an unexpected variation to his usual style. This exceptionally fine canvas, with its solid and decorative organization, has more realism than recently seen in the artist's work.

     Likewise Charles H. Scott, A.R.C.A., presents in a richly painted landscape a new and most successful innovation in treatment. Fred Amess in "Mission" scores high, too, in a new vein. And W.P. Weston, A.R.C.A., not only shows examples of his strong characteristic B.C. landscapes but adds surprising achievement in entirely different compositions of skunk cabbages.
     J.L. Shadbolt's "Signature Piece," with a touch of surrealism, and "White House" with masses firmly disposed in space are both important creations indicating attainment of individuality and power of realization.
     Mildred Valley Thornton's "B.C. Mining Town, Bralorne" is uncompromisingly vigorous, rich and vital in color and thoroughly of the west. Other worthwhile exhibits are by Jane Billaux, always delightful with her particular charm; Dorothy Bell with "The Wharf," full of sincerity and very simple; and Nan Lawson Cheney with a lively portrait of "Donald Erickson."

     Molly Lamb in her colorful "Main Street, Nanaimo" takes another stride forward as a promising young artist. Max Maynard shows strength in his landscapes around Tzouhalem. Irene Hoffar Reid is better than ever in her three captivating compositions. B.C. Binning is always a master draftsman.
     Lilias Farley, who is famous as sculptor and painter, too, exhibits some striking Indian decorative heads. Paul Rand presents his most accomplished landscape, Mrs. M.O. Verral contributes distinguished flower pieces and Margaret Williams shows sketches of the Nevada desert.
     Kate Smith Hoole's "Old Chinese Dish," Leon Manuel's vigorous watercolors, sculptures by Doris Le Cocq (Mrs. F.A. Tabuteau) and Marjorie Robertson, a pastel by P.H. Amsden together with oil and watercolour paintings by A.C. Leighton, A.R.C.A., G.H. Tyler, P. Ustinow, R.S. Alexander, M.A. Bain, Bessie A. Fry, S.P. Judge, Maud Sherman, Maisie Robertson, Harry Hood, Lionel A. Thomas, Nesta B. Horne, and Miriam L. Peck all contribute much to this extraordinary show.