PHILIP HENRY HOWARD SURREY, R.C.A.
Kastel Gallery Inc., Montreal
Galerie Valentin, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal
Anyone who has experienced March weather of the Canadian variety will simultaneously wince and chuckle at this familiar scene. The wind nearly topples the pedestrians as they hurl their bodies, twirling and pitching, hands on caps and skirts, into the gusts that threaten to bowl them over. One man walks determinedly against the wind, against the flow of the crowd, barely catching purchase on the sloped ground.
Philip Surrey goes so far as to angle the majority of his pencil and brushstrokes as if they too are being subjugated by invisible winds, heightening the effect.
The artist was a lifelong pedestrian, walking to and from work, and often used the simple act as a basis for many compositions. While the artist’s skill is such that the cool air seems to blast out from the page, there is a sympathetic lightness to the scene, as the viewer watches the small figures dance and joust with the March wind.