October 18, 2021
If my mother had commissioned Pegi Nicol MacLeod to paint her, I imagine the artist would have given her ruby stained lips, ropey strands of hair, watery dancing eyes, and real presence.
I drew this after seeing Uninvited, the McMichael Gallery’s game-changing exhibition showcasing the breadth of female talent (settler and Indigenous) working in Canada in the first half of the twentieth century. It was the brainchild of curator Sarah Milroy.
No one is putting these artists in a deep six corner anymore — not when so many women in the 2020s are the chief curators and directors of the most important public galleries in Canada. To their credit, the “boys” in the Group of Seven would have embraced — no applauded — this change, especially J.E.H. Macdonald and Arthur Lismer.