This exhibition centres on abstract art in Canada, which was effectively pioneered by late 19th-century artists such as Lawren Harris and Bertram Brooker and took hold in the 1950s, when “it seemed inevitable that the future for advanced painting lay in abstraction, and, in Canada as elsewhere, artists felt compelled to rise to its challenges” (Roald Nasgaard).

From the Automatistes in Montreal to the conceptual art movement in Halifax, to the influence of Clement Greenberg through the Emma Lake workshops on the Prairies in the 1940s, the visual language of shape, form, colour and line that exists for its own sake without reference to external reality, changed the artistic landscape in this country.

Canadian Abstraction: Works on Paper features the work of Quebec painters Jean McEwen, Jean Paul Riopelle, Yves Gaucher, Harold Klunder and Rita Letendre; Painters Eleven artists John Meredith and Ray Mead from Ontario; the Prairies’ William Perehudoff; and Ann Kipling, Greg Murdock and Toni Onley representing British Columbia. Also on exhibit will be mid-size bronze sculptures by Anne Mayhew.