Mys­ti­cal Land­scapes Art G allery of On­tario, Oc­tob er 22, 2016—J an­uary 29, 2017 RS: There are some pretty big works of art in­cluded in this ex­hi­bi­tion. Which are the gallery’s big­gest gets?

Real Style - - Culture News -

The lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion at the Art Gallery of On­tario ( AGO) took five years to de­velop and fea­tures works from Claude Monet, Vin­cent van Gogh, Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe, James McNeill Whistler, Emily Carr and more. With close to 90 paint­ings from 36 artists across 15 coun­tries, th­ese works from 1880 to 1930 ex­plore the artists’ searches for spir­i­tu­al­ity through mys­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ences. AGO’s se­nior in­ter­pre­tive plan­ner David Wis­tow gives Real Style the in­side scoop on the new ex­hi­bi­tion.

Real Style: How did this ex­hi­bi­tion come about?

David Wis­tow: This ex­hi­bi­tion is ground­break­ing in the sense that there has been lit­tle schol­arly work done to date on the sub­ject of mys­ti­cism, na­ture and art dur­ing the pe­riod 1880 to 1930. When AGO’s cu­ra­tor Katharine Lochnan be­gan work on this project, she started by notic­ing pat­terns of thought and be­hav­iour among many artists, and set out to un­der­stand what ques­tions th­ese artists were ask­ing them­selves. It is in­ter­est­ing that th­ese artists— in Europe, in North Amer­ica and Scan­di­navia— all turned their backs on the ram­pant ma­te­ri­al­ism of the time, and wide­spread so­cial and po­lit­i­cal con­flict. In­stead they sought an­swers to the big ques­tions of life, beyond the ev­ery­day: What is the pur­pose of life? What is our place in the uni­verse? How can we achieve spir­i­tual ful­fill­ment?

Through much re­search and travel and per­sonal en­coun­ters, the team fi­nally iden­ti­fied 36 pain­ters from 15 coun­tries who were deeply com­mit­ted to shar­ing their spir­i­tual con­nec­tion to na­ture and the cos­mos through art.

RS: What can vis­i­tors ex­pect from the show?

DW: There are so many amaz­ing com­po­nents to this ex­hi­bi­tion. The mas­ter­pieces by Monet will be a ma­jor high­light, [ but there’s] also a room of mys­ti­cal land­scape prints in­stalled to en­cour­age quiet con­tem­pla­tion. The cli­max of the ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures pow­er­ful and mys­te­ri­ous im­ages of the cos­mos, in­clud­ing works by Amer­i­can artist Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe and one of the Czech Repub­lic’s most rev­ered pain­ters, Wen­zel Hab­lik. DW: Per­haps the most fa­mous work is van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone from New York’s MOMA, although it’s in com­pe­ti­tion with a fan­tas­tic Gau­guin paint­ing— The Yel­low Christ, on loan from Buf­falo’s Al­bright- Knox Art Gallery. The AGO is thrilled to have se­cured eight Monet paint­ings for the show. This is a huge achieve­ment and should be very ex­cit­ing for our vis­i­tors.

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