How far north have you ventured? A new exhibition by Kim Harrison explores what we imagine the Canadian North to be like, even if we have never visited. Harrison’s solo exhibition, titled simply “North”, is an abstracted representation of Canadian forests and of our far north. The exhibition opens October 15th.
Kim, who has often been inspired by literature, is exhibiting a collection of work created after reading The Hidden Mountain by Gabrielle Roy. In the novel, a self-taught painter sets out on an often-lonely journey of artistic discovery. Driven by some inner force, the protagonist moves slowly north capturing the land and its people in his art. Roy’s vivid descriptions of grand vistas in Canada’s far north have lingered in Kim’s mind and on his canvases.
“It’s only cultural familiarity I have with our far North,” the artist says. “Most people have perhaps and affinity – or several – for another place or time, some inner nationality.”
Having never been as far north as The Hidden Mountain described, Kim leans into his imagination to explore the epic skies and vast tundra we find in these paintings. Harrison uses spontaneous miniature sketches as a starting composition and colour palette for large scale works. Favouring vivid colour and mark-making over fine detail, Harrison captures his imagined experience of the far north. “Where the rain and the air is bracing,” Kim muses.