J.W.G. (Jock) Macdonald
Canadian (born in Scotland), 1897–1960
watercolour on paper
25.3 x 35.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Jock Macdonald’s influence spanned the country, including the West Coast where he was a pivotal figure in the early development of abstract art in Vancouver. He initially painted landscapes in the style of the Group of Seven. Macdonald developed an understanding of perceived reality as being underpinned by deep spititual truths, a belief that owed much to the influence of Emily Carr, Frederick Varley, and Lawren Harris. Completed after he left Vancouver for Calgary, this WAG watercolour, which features a stunning bird creature, shows increasing awareness of the fantastical aspects of Surrealism. Moving to Toronto in 1947 to teach, Macdonald developed a purely abstract, non-representational style. He later became a founding member and elder statesman of Painters Eleven, a group that was instrumental in introducing modern art in Toronto.