I fell in love with the Mystical Landscapes exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario last night. This exhibit is good for the soul. I highly recommend it.
Mystical Landscapes includes paintings by my favourite artist, Lawren Harris, as well as, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Eugene Jansson, Edvard Munch, Emily Carr, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Wenzel Hablik, amongst many others.
What the exhibit does very well is contextualize the impressionists, post-impressionists, and other artists who were heading away from realism and searching for something deeper- positing the idea of mysticism and spirituality in fine art. The exhibit re-examines famous works within the context of this deeper spiritual meaning. The curation felt very natural and free-flowing, building with each room into a symphony of spiritual awakening as you contemplate the very meaning of life, or… at the very least, you’ll be saying, “Ooooh, very pretty.”
In the past I have found that the AGO tends to include a Canadian artist whose artwork they already hold in their permanent collection and randomly throw it into a major exhibit haphazardly. It inevitably ends up feeling contrived which is unfortunate. Mystical Landscapes on the other hand is one of the few exhibits I’ve seen at the AGO where the inclusion of Lawren Harris, Emily Carr, and Tom Thomson weaves fluidly into a sea of world famous pieces. The work by these legendary Canadian artists was not only apt but lifted my emotional understanding of the exhibit as a whole creating a further sense of calm and introspection.
By the time I exited into the gift shop I was a bit dazed but not remotely confused. If you get the chance, please try to see this exhibit before it closes in Toronto on February 12th. You won’t regret it. Mystical Landscapes will also be appearing at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris afterwards so check it out if you’re there.
The Mystical Landscapes exhibit opens to the public today at the Art Gallery of Ontario and continues until February 12, 2017. For more information check out ago.net.
Are you a fan of this style of painting? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental