Contemporary arts are represented by genres such as plastic and visual arts, including sculpture, printmaking, photography, painting, and others. The works of contemporary painters, sculptors, and painters covers a variety of themes and is influenced by the unique history and cultural heritage of Canada, including waves of immigration and the First Nations People.
The Group of Seven
The Group of Seven consisted of landscape painters such as LeMoine FitzGerald, Frederick Varley, Arthur Lismer, and Frank Johnston. Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, for example, was a teacher and painter who became famous for his painting Doc Snyder’s House. Frank Johnson, also a member of the Group of Seven, was also a Canadian artist and a prolific painter with over 250 paintings during his lifetime. He produced paintings such as The Guardian of the Gorge, Sunset in the Bush, A Northern Light, The Fire Ranger, Near the Berry Patch, and many others. He is world famous for landscapes such as Fire-Swept, Sopwith Camel Looping, and The Fire Ranger. The Group of Seven also consisted of Canadian artists such as Alfred Joseph Casson, Alexander Young Jackson, and James Edward Hervey MacDonald, the latter of whom is credited for initiating the Canadian national art movement.
Visual and Performing Arts in Canada
Ceramicists have already began to show interest in Canada’s nature and rugged landscape by the 70s. Artists such as Walter Dexter, Robin Hopper, Les Manning, and John Chalke created shapes incorporating elements that mimic the horizons, striations, and cracks of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Shield. During the 80s, Canadian ceramicists began to use random objects, moulds, and hand techniques. “Sloppy” craft appeared on the scene in the 21st century, with loose handling of clay. Artists such as Robin Lambert, Rory MacDonald, Linda Sormin, and Alwyn O’Brien use this technique. Other forms of art that underwent transformation are conceptual, environmental, and body art, collage, and correspondence and performance art. Environmental art, for example, aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and focuses on landscapes. Artists such as Irene Whittome showcase installations with colors and objects that show her feelings about different cities, rooms, spaces, and places. Performance art is a type of a hybrid form through which artists re-enact different events, phenomena, or happenings. Bruce Barber, for example, centers his performance on media and sociopolitical content. Installation artists focus on historical events and identity and cultural constructs. Well known installation artists in Canada include names such as Rodney Graham, John McEwen, and Faye Heavyshield, among others.
Many First Nations artists also use alternative art forms and mixed installations to convey their feelings and incorporate elements of their mythology and tradition. Such artists include a number of women as well, for instance, Debra Sparrow, Theresa Marshall, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, and others. There are other contemporary forms of art in Canada such as graphic, indigenous, and decorative arts, painting, etc. War art is a form embraced by artists such as John William Beatty, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Carl Fellman Schaefer, and Molly Joan Bobak, among others. The Canadian War Museum showcases objects and artifacts that illustrate the country’s military history and features a number of special exhibitions. Special exhibitions focus on major events such as the Second World War, the Cold War, Canada’s early wars, and the First World and South African Wars. The Liberation Gallery of the Museum features a rich collection of artifacts, including military equipment, vehicles, weapons, and a lot more. The Gallery helps visitors to learn more about the technology and tools that Canadians used in times of conflict and war.