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Centenary Reflections Lecture - Brushes with Death: The Great War and the Group of Seven

Wed., Oct. 15, 2014 7:00 p.m.

Location: MacKenzie Art Gallery

The Humanities Research Institute, the Faculties of Arts and Fine Arts, the Department of History and the Dr. John Archer Library at the University of Regina proudly present 1914: A Turning Point in History and Culture Centenary Reflections at the University of Regina.

In this commemorative lecture series an interdisciplinary team of scholars will offer their “Centenary Reflections” on the significance of the Great War as a turning point in history and culture.  Specialists from the fields of History, International Studies, English, French, Music, Film, Economics and Psychology will consider the diffuse influence and legacy of the Great War in a wide range of contexts.  Approaching the war from diverse disciplinary perspectives underlines the profound and sometimes surprising impact of the war, as its influence reached from the Berlin streets to the Canadian prairies, from the musical stage to the graphic novel and from the artist’s studio to the psychiatrist’s couch.

Lecture Title: Brushes with Death: The Great War and the Group of Seven
Guest Speaker: Dr. Ross King
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 7 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Location: MacKenzie Art Gallery

By 1914 a group of young artists had come together in Toronto to form a school of painting dedicated to capturing what they saw as the savage beauty of the Canadian landscape.

After the outbreak of WWI interrupted their assault on the conservative bastions of Canadian art, one of the painters, J.E.H. MacDonald, prophesied that his friends and fellow artists would soon return from the battlefields of Europe to finish the job they had begun: "They will interpret for us with deeper insight the distinctive beauty of the land they have served."

This lecture will examine how their varied experience of war allowed the painters who first exhibited as the Group of Seven in 1920 to interpret the landscape with a "deeper insight," and how images of the Western Front continued to haunt their paintings.