A Jock McDonald Remix Project by Pete Smith.

This blog is a running journal that was made in conjunction with my artist residency at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada that took place between December 2014 and February of 2015.

To get an understanding of how this project fits into the larger scope of my art practice, please visit:


Monday, December 15, 2014

Research Notes:

Continued from Zemans, "Jock Macdonald", 1985.

pg 24: While working in the south of France, he had a studio visit with Jean Debuffet who offered him the following criticism: "If only you could speak in oil as you speak in watercolour then...you would have a profound contribution and a personal one...This you can do and this you must do, but you must begin immediately to experiment to find how you can use oils as you do your watercolours. There are four oil canvases started similar to your watercolours but you haven't managed to come through, for you paint with too solid a medium." (This was JMD's assessment of the Debuffet feedback as relayed in a letter from March 20, 1955.)

pg 24: Furthermore: "Start experiments of technique immediately, it is only a technique discovery you have to find, everything else you have already."

pg 24: In a letter from March 13, 1956 he wrote: "It is clear to me now that if I stay at OCA until I am age 65 or 66, I will never have a single associate supporting me in anything at all. This is my cross....Only the students appreciate me."

pg 24: He started experimenting with pyroxylin, a fluid, fast drying enamel paint used by Jackson Pollock and others. This paint was marketed under the name "Duco".

pg 24:In 1957, Harold Town introduced Macdonald to Lucite 44, which was another, less odorous enamel paint.

pg 25: In the spring of 1957, Clement Greenberg visited the Painters 11. Of Macdonald's new Lucite paintings he said, they are "a tremendous step in the right direction."

pg 26: Had a show at Isaacs Gallery in 1959. Av Isaacs lives really close to me, and is a friend of Paul Sloggett. Going to have to try to interview Isaacs about this.

pg 26: Given "a semi-retrospective" at the Art Gallery of Toronto in the spring of 1960. Going to have to track down the catalogue for that.

pg 27: Although he wasn't exclusively represented in Toronto, his works were shown and available at Roberts Gallery, Here and Now Gallery, Isaacs Gallery and Gallery Moos. These are all pretty legendary Toronto venues. Going to email David Moos about this also. Going to go into the Roberts Gallery also.

pg 27:Suffered a heart attack in November of 1960.

Was going to be forcibly retired from OCA in 1961. His pension would have been $100 a month. Even in 1960 this was apparently a really, really shitty pension.

pg 27: He finished teaching for Christmas holiday on Friday, December 2nd, 1960. He died on Saturday, December 3rd. He was stretching canvases on the Friday night to paint over his vacation.

Personal Note: It is kinda creepy and weird that I'm doing this residency and making this work while on my Christmas vacation from OCAD.(!)

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