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:


Thursday, January 8, 2015

research note: from the letters of Jock Macdonald

Pg 165- In a letter to dr. Pailthorpe, and speaking in relation to automatism: "I find painting in oils still difficult. The slowness of the medium hampers the creation of freedom in the transition areas. Perhaps I have not released myself from the conscious effect of working in a different medium. Now I am fairly certain that I won't do more landscape canvases. Sketches yes, but to do a landscape canvas seems a waste of time + much too manufactured."

Pg 167- July 4th, 1946: "Cheers! Hurrah!! Yippy!!! I am appointed Head of the Art School in Calgary, taking Glyde's place. I'm out of prison at last, after seven years, and feel a bit elated over the fact that I am able to hold to my statement that I very probably would not return if they put the art room in the basement, together with the automobiles and flying splinters." Oh yes. The politics of teaching high school. I never worked for a Principal that wasn't a giant wiener (although I have heard that such a thing does in fact exist, and is not merely a mythological creature like a unicorn.)

Pg 170 - October 29th, 1946: On Calgary - "The understanding of art + appreciation of art is dreadfully low in the city. Never have the art conscious people been even slightly introduced to 20th century expressions - they are only able to appreciate sweet conservative + old Fashioned English water-colour painting. Barbara and I both felt like weeping after we came out of the first two art lectures we attended in town. "The artist has no right to do anything except to please the public"..."

Gotta go make breakfast and school lunches for the kids. :)

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