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An Unused Painting Panel From Varley's Studio Left In Stormy Weather 2016-2017
Intervention, photo documentation

A long-term intervention as part of an exhibition at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham Ontario. The institution, in addition to owning notable works by iconic Group of Seven member Frederick Varley, also cares for many of his studio objects, preserved in the collection after his death in 1969. One such object was a canvas board that Varley never got around to painting on. (First image.) Varley was particularly interested in the effects of inclement weather on the Canadian landscape, and had he lived to put paint to this panel, he might have depicted a rain drenched tree, blustery whitecaps on a lake or some such thing.

During this intervention, the effects of weather were likewise recorded, (in a more direct and material sense,) by leaving the actual canvas board itself outdoors throughout a winter and spring, documenting it at regular intervals as the weather effected change. Eventually when the warped and soggy board lost its canvas face, the project was deemed completed. The conventions of painting were sidestepped entirely, but the “story of weather” can be read just as clearly in the rips, warps, mold and dirt flecks; details that feel both mundane and poetic. This is a very matter-of-fact document of the type of weather conditions that enthralled Frederick Varley.

Curated by Anik Glaude, a component of the exhibition Things Saved For a Rainy Day, May 13 – September 4, 2017. Digital publication forthcoming in 2022.

Above: installation view.

Grateful acknowledgements: Anik Glaude, Niamh O'Laoghaire, Rachel Brodie, and the Ontario Arts Council for the generous Exhibition Assistance.

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