Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The McMichael Gallery: Canadian Art & Cuisine

Located in picturesque Kleinburg and nestled amid 100 acres of forested land, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection stands alone as the only public fine art gallery in the nation that focuses on Canadian art and the Indigenous art of our country, both historical and contemporary. The permanent collection consists of over 6,400 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and contemporary artists who have contributed to the development of Canadian art. The McMichael is also the gallery of record for works on paper from the Inuit community of Cape Dorset, totaling more than 100,000 artworks. The current show 'Passion Over Reason: Tom Thomson & Joyce Wieland' pays tribute to two these groundbreaking Ontario-born artists. The title of the exhibition is a deliberate reversal of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s oft-quoted personal motto, “Reason over passion”. This exhibition could be considered as a passionate love letter to Tom Thomson and Canada, and a conversation between masterworks by Thomson and by Canada’s feminist art pioneer Joyce Wieland. For this special occasion, the McMichael has brought out virtually all of its holdings of Thomson’s paintings, drawings, photographs, and personal objects. This dynamic installation presents these works interwoven with works by Wieland, whose playful use of sex and humour addresses issues of ecology, patriotism and the pitfalls of nationalism.

For a light lunch, Aura by Cashew & Clive Restaurant is located in the Grand Hall of McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and features a limited menu of soups, sandwiches and salads, in addition to a seasonal menu inspired by the abstract works of Lawren Harris with dishes such as Sun and Earth, Lawren Harris, c.1939: Red chard topped with cucumber, cherry tomato, edamame, chickpeas and molasses croutons, drizzled with a white balsamic vinaigrette and topped with spiced pistachios and goat cheese; Abstract No.7, Lawren Harris, 1939: Fried egg, asparagus, cherry tomato, red onion and melted Swiss cheese in a savoury buckwheat crepe, served with green salad or house-made kettle chips. The restaurant also serves McMichael wines, created by Diamond Estates winery to pay tribute to the artists that were part of the Group of Seven, with a portion of the proceeds helping to support the preservation of the art collection.

Entrance to the Passion Over Reason exhibition featuring the work of Tom Thomson and Joyce Wieland

"Summer Day", 1916, Tom Thomson, oil on panel

"Sunset", 1915, Tom Thomson, oil on board

"Woodland Waterfall", 1916, Tom Thomson, oil on canvas

One wall of small Tom Thomson paintings  

Joyce Wieland, 'From the far Shore'

Joyce Wieland, 'Woman on Fire', 1983, oil on canvas

Joyce Wieland, 'True Patriot Love', 1971, bookwork

Joyce Wieland, Untitled ("Trudeau du Canada"), etching on paper

Joyce Wieland, Entrance to Nature, 1988, canvas collage

Lawren Harris, Mt. Lefroy, 1930

The Group of Seven Guitar Project with guitar design inspired by painting of Lawren Harris

The McMichael 'Size Matters' exhibition brings together the work of painter Steve Driscoll and photographer Finn O’Hara

Their work is a creative response to the need for a sense of scale - the resulting images are moments of intervention on landscapes that are sharply foreign to the subject matter of the paintings themselves

Steve Driscoll's painting are made with urethane on plastic panels

Aura by Cashew & Clive, located in the Grand Hall of the McMichael

Maple-Scented Cappuccino 

Roasted Beet Salad made with chopped Swiss chard and pistachios tossed in an orange sherry vinaigrette, and topped with pickled beets and shaved Pecorino cheese

Cheddar, Bacon & Beer Soup with half of a Chicken and Bacon Baguette Sandwich

Fish Chowder
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Chef Shawn Rovan, McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg

2 oz diced salt pork or thick cut bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
8 oz fresh cod fillet, cubed
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper

In heavy saucepan over medium heat, fry the pork until crisp and fat has been rendered. Add the onion and fry until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and water, and bring to a boil. Simmer covered until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cod, cover and cook, stirring gently once or twice, for 5 minutes. Add the milk and butter, and heat until steaming and the cod flakes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with a garnish of fresh dill.