DORIS JEAN MCCARTHY, O.S.A., R.C.A.
Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Stuart Reid, “Island Sketches: Thoughts on Watercolour Paintings of Doris McCarthy,” In Celebrating Life: The Art of Doris McCarthy, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, 1999.
Doris McCarthy, A Fool in Paradise: An Artist’s Early Life, Macfarlane Walter & Ross, Toronto, 1990.
Doris McCarthy (1910-2010) studied at the Ontario College of Art under the supervision of several noted Group of Seven members, eventually becoming a teacher in the art department at Central Technical School in 1932, where she remained for forty years.
Teaching afforded her a newfound independence, and her lifelong curiosity is manifest in her evolving aesthetic approach. McCarthy experimented with form continually, reducing, stretching, and synthesizing it to its essential structure of line, shape and colour, allowing herself to be influenced both by those she was working with and the evolving face of art movements over the years. What remained constant in her work was her dedication to the representation of landscape and the continuum of an event, that is the perception of a space over a period of time.
McCarthy travelled to Britain and Ireland repeatedly throughout her lifetime, documenting what she saw in both oils and watercolour. At times picturing the landscape as formidable and foreboding, she always placed the vantage point as hovering slightly above the ground. The painting Storm Clouds of Keel, creates a sense of place that is at once familiar and distant. Reminiscent of Group of Seven landscape compositions, McCarthy captures the jutting rock cliffs of the far western shores of Ireland in richly applied oils, using various shades of green and blue to convey depth and a sense of drama. While ostensibly a painting about storm clouds, we are immediately drawn to the striking hillside that also commands our attention. Through a beautifully articulated understanding of the importance of colour and shape, McCarthy transports us a great distance, if only in our imagination.