Exposition Art Blog: Canadian abstract art Harold Town

Canadian abstract art Harold Town

Harold Barling Town (June 13, 1924 – December 27, 1990) was a Canadian abstract painter. He is best known as a member of Painters Eleven a group of abstract artists active in Toronto from 1954-1960. Town coined the name of the group, which was based simply on the number of artists that were present the first meeting. He also worked as an illustrator, a profession he credited with imparting a sense of discipline that would last throughout his entire artistic career His early illustrative appeared in magazines such as Maclean's and Mayfair.
Harold Town was trained at Western Technical-Commercial School and Ontario College of Art, both in Toronto. The Royal Ontario Museum was an early source of inspiration, especially its East Asian prints and ceramics, and the Mesopotamian and Egyptian antiquities. His exposure to the diverse artistry of these works gave Town what he called “a global horizon,” a new outlook, which would influence his work as a commercial artist and inspire his first attempts at abstract art. His early work also reflected his interest in Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning.

 Town developed his own innovative collage technique, which was highly acclaimed His collages have been described by Gerta Moray in Harold Town: Life & Work as similar to his paintings in the way “they spread out to fill the surface yet are given focus as configurations by areas of drawing in ink or paint.” He also “juxtaposed contrasting or unexpected textures and fragments pulled from myriad everyday sources,” that lead the viewer “through sequences of association and ambiguity, of close-up and distant viewing.”Known as an "unpredictable" painter Town's work moved quickly from a dark expressionist style to abstraction which contrasted vivid colours. Highly eclectic, Town’s work rigorously explored a wide range of contemporary and historical styles, anticipating postmodern practices. His pluralistic artistic method incorporated a variety of media and styles simultaneously, and assimilated complex artistic traditions, which he used to reflect his own personal experience.

 In the 1960s, Town developed a style of prints which he called "Single Autographic Prints" a phrase he never explained. These monotype prints were colourful and delicate, winning Town awards in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia and Santiago, Chile, where the prints were acquired by the Solomon Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA0. Alfred Barr the director of MoMA at the time called Town "one of the world's greatest printmakers."Described as a “Canadian loyalist,” Harold Town was unwavering in his commitment to proving that internationally important and innovative art could develop in Toronto.Through his early success and his insistence on maintaining his roots in Toronto, Town helped foster a new confidence and maturity in the Canadian art scene of the late 1950s.Wikipedia

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