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an abstract landscape painting with geometric shapes in various shades of green and brown, with a few houses nestled in between

… An Experience of Nature: Landscapes from the Permanent Collection

Dates December 23.2023

Drawing from the Art Gallery of Guelph’s permanent collection, this exhibition explores the use of abstraction by artists in their depictions of the natural world. While the decision to create art inspired by nature often begins with an impulse to replicate and document the environment, the works within this installation veer into experimental explorations of colour, form, and composition. Illustrating the ways in which landscape in art frequently speaks to the idea of nature as a sublime force to be reckoned with, the works included here underscore that renderings of nature say more about what our perceptions and collective remove from it than accurately conveying how it actually exists.

The exhibition takes its title from art critic Barry Schwabsky’s book Landscape Painting Now: From Abstraction to New Romanticism in which he observes that “A landscape painting is not necessarily a representation of a landscape, but rather something that, in being constructed out of pieces of representation…kindles an experience of its own – one that, as those fragments of resemblance suggest, is somehow like an experience of nature.”

Image detail: Arthur F. McKay, Odyssey to a Mallard Drake, 1983, acrylic on paper, 52.5 cm x 72 cm. Gift of Joan and W. Ross Murray, Whitby Ontario, 1983.


This exhibition is organized and presented by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

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an abstract landscape consisting of soft blurred streaks of blue, yellow, orange, and brown
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