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Ed Bartram: The Eye Within

October 17, 2009 to January 3, 2010

THE eye within does often see
In little things the greater show
And gathers them for memory
To cherish and to know

J.E.H. MacDonald, from A Memory in West by East and Other Poems
(Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1933), 19.


The Georgian Bay area has served as a rich source of creative inspiration for Canadian artists. From J.E.H. MacDonald’s etched images of Georgian Bay to Ed Bartram’s current print works, Georgian Bay’s iconic beauty continues to be immortalized through extraordinary works of art.

In the summer of 1912, J.E.H. MacDonald, a founding member of the Group of Seven, was invited to spend time at a friend’s cottage located in the eastern Georgian Bay region. Captivated by the beautiful landscape, MacDonald produced several landscape drawings in an effort to preserve his cherished memories of the experience for others to know (as the artist wrote in his poem, A Memory, quoted above). From these drawings he then created a series of one-colour print images.

Like MacDonald, contemporary artist Ed Bartram spends his summers in the Georgian Bay area. His prints, produced using a range of innovative printmaking techniques, visually celebrate and share his connection, understanding, and memories associated with Georgian Bay. Rock formations containing striking patterns, which were cherished by MacDonald, are also cherished by Bartram who describes them as, “Older than life itself, these Precambrian rocks have been pushed towards the core of the earth where, under the weight of great mountains, they were metamorphosed into molten, chocolate ripple-like swirls of pink and black. Surfacing again after millennia of erosion and glaciation, this rock forms, in a bay of Lake Huron, an archipelago of thirty thousand wildly striated islands…[My] work interprets the forces of nature found on these Precambrian surfaces [which have been] revealed by the cleansing and polishing power of ice and water.”

Ed Bartram interprets the Georgian Bay landscape using traditional aspects of printmaking, while at the same time incorporating, and advancing new technologies to realize his ideas. Opening at the McMichael on October 17 and curated by the McMichael’s Chris Finn, the exhibition, Ed Bartram: The Eye Within, will explore the Georgian Bay area through seventeen large-scale prints by Ed Bartram and two Georgian Bay prints by J.E.H. MacDonald.

Portage Pool, Killarney

Ed Bartram,(b.1938)
Portage Pool, Killarney
, 1999
drypoint, carborundum with oil paint and pastel
variable edition, ed. 12
80 x 116.8 cm
Collection of the Artist

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