Vancouver Daily Province, May 3 1949

In The Realm of Art


by Palette

     Thirty-ninth annual exhibition of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts at the Gallery, opened Monday by Mayor Thompson, is undoubtedly one of the finest displays by this leading professional artist organization. The show, occupying entire main floor of the Gallery, lasts until May 2.
     A lively spirit runs through most of the display, with great variety of expression and many points of view. As a whole, and excepting a few distinctly inferior works, one feels that the creative impulse has been active during the past year among these experienced painters of the province. Most of the Society's artists, and guest artists, have not been content to repeat former successes.
     While the methods of expression are various, from the abstract to the representative, the general tendency towards art of our times is pronounced. In other words modern art, with its modifications and transitions from older styles, is no longer on the defensive but is much favored and has apparently strongly influenced many of the leading painters in the west.

     In the pronounced swing to the left we find of course Lawren Harris, with his purely non-objective "Variations on a Theme" and two remarkable canvases by B.C. Binning, dealing in an abstract way with ships and indicating that this younger artist has definitely won his spurs among the most compelling abstractionists of North America.
     In the same field of expression but using richer and more violent colours are Joe Plaskett, Lionel Thomas, and Stanley Brunst. Mr. Plaskett calls one of his canvases "The Bridge, New Westminster" and most observers, while probably moved by his composition of rich colors, will be obliged to accept the artist's word in regard to the title, perhaps deeming it of secondary importance.

     In the more representational school W.P. Weston, ARCA, refusing to rest on past laurels, show five large paintings into all of which he has injected a fresh note. Especially fine in rhythmic movement are his logs on Kew Beach and a majestic view of Anvil Island.
     Mildred Valley Thornton's Indian dance, with a telling native design in the upper part of the canvass (sic), is easily her best picture. She has entered with much liveliness into free interpretation of her subject matter.
     All of the contributions by Dorothy Bell, especially her fine "Point Grey ("Street", Ed.) in Winter" show a stride ahead in this artist's work. Paul Rand's large picture "Timbermen" is likewise an improvement and the best in his series of pictures showing men at work in mines.

     To attempt to discuss all the worthwhile oil paintings among the eighty-one exhibits in this medium would be an impossible task without going into considerable length. However, one can not omit mentioning the sensitive pictures of mountain scenery by Bess Harris, the forthright affirmatively painted oils by Helen West and pictures by W.J.B. Newcombe, J.A.S. Macdonald, Ronald Jackson, Eric Loewe, Leon Manuel, and Don Jarvis.
     Another visit to the Gallery is necessary to appreciate the numerous fine watercolors, pastels, graphic arts and sculpture included in this unusually impressive display by British Columbia artists.