Steve Martin is on a mission. Working with curators Cindy Burlingham of the Hammer Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Andrew Hunter, he’s developing an exhibition of major works by Lawren S. Harris from the 1920 and ’30s, with the aim of introducing Harris to an American audience. The exhibition will open at the Hammer—which is part of UCLA—in fall 2015, and after a tour of the U.S. it will land at the AGO. A publication complementing the exhibition will include essays by Martin, Hunter, and Burlingham, who is the Hammer’s deputy director of Curatorial Affairs. A highly knowledgeable collector of 20th-century art, Martin sees Harris as an overlooked artist of great accomplishment and significance. The Hammer is well known for championing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists, and this exciting collaboration will expose Harris to a broader international audience and will more deeply consider his place in 20th century art history. Hunter previously curated the only solo exhibition of Harris’ work shown in the U.S. to date, at New York’s Americas Society Art Gallery in 2000.
Stay tuned for more details about the exhibition in the new year.
About Lawren Harris
From the early 1920s to 1933, Canadian artist Lawren S. Harris (1885 – 1970) produced a remarkable body of work that significantly informed an image of Canada and has remains deeply rooted in the country’s identity. For many Canadians, his scenes of cold and empty northlands, isolated peaks and expanses of dark water washing up on barren shorelines are essential images of their country. As a founding member of the Group of Seven, Harris’s style progressed from a bold, nationalistic portrayal of the northern landscape to a more universal conception of the land, depicting it as a vision of spiritual inspiration. This progression would lead him to a calculated approach to abstraction, inspired by spiritual philosophy and transcendentalism, that he would pursue in the United States (from 1934-39 in New Hampshire and New Mexico) and for the remainder of his life in Vancouver (1940-70). Although Harris was committed to an experimental approach to abstraction, his classic depictions of northern landscapes are still considered to be his most significant and resonant works.