Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
During these dark times, the idea of going into the light is a welcome one.
Sadly, Into the Light, an exhibition of Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald’s paintings that was scheduled to open April 4 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, has been postponed, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the WAG is offering a video preview of the exhibit online. Into the Light: LL FitzGerald features the paintings of the artist and educator, who was born in Winnipeg in 1890. He was a member of the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian painters known for capturing the landscape of the country in the 1920s and 1930s.
The group was originally composed of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley. Later on, other artists were invited to join the group, including A.J. Casson, Edwin Holgate and finally FitzGerald, who was the last to join and the sole member to hail from Western Canada.
"He’s one of Manitoba’s most celebrated artists," says Stephen Borys, WAG director and CEO. "He’s one of those artists who has documented so comprehensively the Winnipeg, the Manitoba and the Canadian landscape."
"He is the only member from Manitoba and the one member from the West, so he adds a whole new component to the group and what we understand the Group of Seven to be," Borys says of the painter, who was part of the group’s efforts to be recognized as a truly national school by including members outside Toronto.
Prior to his involvement with the Group of Seven, FitzGerald served as principal of the Winnipeg School of Art. He was invited to join the group shortly after the death of founding member J.E.H. MacDonald in 1932, but when it ultimately disbanded the same year, another group formed in its place, Canadian Group of Painters, which FitzGerald was active in founding.
Into the Light showcases more than 200 pieces of FitzGerald’s work from the genres of portrait, still-life and landscape, including paintings depicting Winnipeg neighbourhoods and Manitoba scenery.
"FitzGerald was born in Manitoba, grew up here and worked here," Borys says. "He has a real connection with the land and you see it in all his work."
That unique connection enabled FitzGerald to bring an innovative and vibrant perspective to the collective work of the Group of Seven and the understanding of landscape painting during the 1920s and 1930s.
For future visitors to the exhibition or those exploring the online exhibit preview, Borys says that FitzGerald’s work is "a chance to really embrace the Canadian landscape, starting with the landscapes of Winnipeg and Manitoba through an artist who was one of our own."
"It’s a strange time," he adds, "and we have the video online, but really the goal is for people to see these works in person. I really hope that will happen before the end of the year."
Though the WAG remains closed indefinitely, the preview of Into the Light: LL FitzGerald is available online at wag.ca/event/into-the-light/
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