The Early Years: Clyfford Still in Canada, 1920–33

Jul 7, 2020 - Sep 13, 2020


This exhibition is the third installment in an exhibition series featuring Still’s earliest works and curated by guest curator, Patricia Failing. Situated in the Museum’s first three galleries, The Early Years: Clyfford Still in Canada, 1920–33 illustrates the early development and legacy of Still’s artistic practices in two distinctive geographical settings, Bow Island (1920–25) and Killam, Alberta (1925–33).

Nearly all of Still’s work from Bow Island, aside from portraits, represents the area’s seasonal prairie environment. Severe droughts, harsh winters and abrupt shifts in weather conditions were typical in this inhospitable dry belt. Allusions to these hardships, however, are notably absent from Still’s sunny Bow Island landscapes, sketches of plants and animals, and atmospheric color studies.

The exhibition concludes with some of Still’s later, mature abstractions, which Still emphasized, “have nothing to do with the prairie.”

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