Varley in Vancouver, Part 3: influencing and remixing art – join the G7
What follows is Part 3 of a three-part series exploring the decade which Group of Seven painter Frederick Varley lived in Vancouver and played a pivotal role in the creation of a west coast art movement and sensibility (see here for Part 1 and Part 2).
Trained in Belgium, and unlike the rest of the G7, primarily a portraitist, Varley explored his rugged new location – from a Jericho cabin to summer-long camps in Garbaldi – and often with a group of students and artists along, before moving to a cheap place in Lynn Canyon with his mistress. While there, broke and often drunk, he painted true masterpieces on insulation paper. Commemorated with only a trail along Lynn Creek, come along to learn about one of Vancouver’s (almost) unknown shapers.
@JMV’s carefully curated collection of murals, folkart, beer labels and lost fine art and pointed out Varley’s sketch of, what looks like, a lady on a laptop.
Eve Lazurus in Spacing.ca also turns in a charming personal account of hiking around Varley’s Lynn Canyon home (and also stopping in at End of the Line cafe) in her Frederick Varley’s Vancouver.
Photographer Kris Krug displays his favourites Kodachromes from the exploration of addresses on Flickr, KK Varley tag.
Megaphone Magazine published a 1500 word version of my discourse as Varley’s Vancouver, Discovering the City’s Artistic Hearts in Frederick Varley’s Past.
There is a Varley Art Gallery in as part of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham, Ontario and a street in Unionville, Ontario bears his name. McKay refers to a patron who supporting Varley later in life.
Vancouver Art Gallery has collected 19 Varley paintings or sketches as well as a fond of personal papers including some illuminating letters from his son who became an art dealer and was agent for selling the elder Varley’s Work.
Varley paintings at Vancouver Art Gallery
Portrait of H. Mortimer-Lamb, c.1930
Untitled Figure Study, 1939
Steeple Mountain, Kootenay Lake, 1956
Sketch of Garrow Bay, c.1935
Mountain Vista, B.C., 1929
Swimming Pool at Lumberman's Arch, 1932
Untitled (Vera and Mr. Weatherbie), 1929
Young Artist at Work, 1924
Ice Floes, Low Tide, Cape Dorset, 1938
Blue Ridge, Upper Lynn, 1931
Bridge Over Lynn, 1932
Girl's Head, c. 1931
Evening-Georgian Bay, c.1920
Mount Garibaldi, 1927-1928
Artists influenced by Varley
Along with the aforementioned Ms. Weatherbie, other painters influenced by Frederick Varley – either as students or contemporaries – include: Emily Carr, Charles Scott, Jock MacDonald, Irene Hoffar Reid, Beatrice Lennie.
There is a variety of ways to connect your contemporary experience with Varley’s era. Whether you paint, record, dance, hike, write or otherwise, find a way to create and share your work.
Below are more examples, resources, ideas, ephemera and creative prompts to inspire and celebrate the birth of a Vancouver art culture, and the renegades who shaped it, and us.