Eyeing Our Surroundings

Groundbreaking exhibit explores historic landscapes.

Written by Mark Collin Reid

October 5, 2015

What can historic landscape paintings tell us about the peoples who inhabited these spaces? An international exhibit — that featured twenty artists from Canada, including Emily Carr — raised questions about how geography has influenced art, and vice versa, in the Americas.

Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra Del Fuego to the Arctic, featured 118 works from eighty-five artists. In addition to Carr, the exhibit included Canadians such as Mary Hiester Reid and Anne Savage. The oldest painting exhibited was “Landscape with Figures: A Scene from The Last of the Mohicans,” painted in 1826 by American artist Thomas Cole. The most recent work — Troje, by Mexican artist Maria Izquierdo, was created in 1943.

The exhibit debuted at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in June and continued to Arkansas and on to Brazil, where it opened just prior to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The text of this article originally appeared in the October-November 2015 issue of Canada's History.

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