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B.C. Society of Fine Arts
A cursory view of the pictures soon after they were hung made the visitor of former years feel, first, that the present show is quite up to the past in vigorous accomplishment; secondly, that the wave of modernism has certainly made itself felt in many of the examples on view. So much is this the fact as to make it rather an extraordinary phenomenon so that one is rather glad to see some of the earlier apostles of art in our midst still sticking to their good old style. This is especially noticeable in the magnificent mountain pictures by Thos. W. Fripp, who has five in the present show, all of them of a covetable nature, but even here there is a touch of modernism in this artist's "Mount Lefroy Glacier," No. 59.
The trend towards modernism is perhaps most emphatic in the five striking paintings by Charles H. Scott. It shows that he has entirely forsaken the old paths and now prefers that which is symbolic to that which is anything approaching to an actual portrayal of nature. There is no mistaking the fact that these five pictures give initiated observers certain sensations of grandeur and sublimity. Moreover, it can not be doubted that they are resplendent in gorgeous color. They may also be considered decorative in effect, but the opinion of the unbiased Philistine observer will probably be that they go a little too far in the direction of a wilful obscurity.
Proceeding further on the modernist line, Mr. W.P. Weston's "Booming Ground, Gambier Island" No. 18, must be intended as a joke. Such florid color, such blues, greens and yellows were never seen on land or sea. Mr. Weston is certainly "joshing" his fellow members who became so deeply infected with the latest development of painting. In No. 15, Mr. Weston is perhaps more intelligible, and the remarkable tree in the yellow field, was evidently perceived through a pair of agitated and circumlocutory glasses. The twiddling twigs are very amusing. Mr. Weston further exemplifies his conversion or retraction in No. 29.
But with regard to modernism, when we see that it has influenced Rev. J. Williams Ogden in his fine picture of mountain scenery in a way that can not but be regarded as beneficial - one is dumb in the presence of progress. In this picture, which is really a good example of the painter's style, the eye is not teased by a too meticulous definition of the nearer foreground.
Mrs. Statira Frame as the Society's pioneer in modernism, is of course quite at home in the present exhibition, and the examples of her art are as distinctive as usual. B.A. Fry and Margaret Lougheed also have striking examples in the same line.
Kate A. Smith in her painting "The Snowplough," displays accurate draughtsmanship, and a great sense of reality. It is done with a free brush, but it is not technically "modern."
Margaret Wake has three dashingly strong portraits in her well-known vigorous style.
Mrs. Verral has a couple of watercolors which are even better than those hung in the last exhibition.
Grace Judge's beautiful drawing of fairies and antique ladies and gentlemen have a delicacy that is very pleasing.
Two examples of illumination by Grace W. Melvin would be admired by even the uneducated public. There is no need for any special education to perceive their beauty. They take us back to the work of centuries ago, which would hold its own if it were exhibited now.
It must not be supposed that there are in this interesting show, none but "modern" pictures. There are some beautiful crayon and pencil portraits, and some small studies that must be left for another time.