Douglas Coupland: Group Portrait in Circles

Douglas Coupland‘s new art installation – Group Portrait 1957 – is making waves at Oshawa’s Robert McLaughlin Gallery. The 11 circular shapes posted as a sculpture on the outside of the building refer to the gallery’s history as a haven for the art of the Toronto abstract collective Painters Eleven.

Eleven ‘transmitters’ each represent a seminal work by a member of Painters Eleven and are arranged according to an archived photo of the members.  For each member of the group, Coupland used colors that were most prominent in that artist’s paintings.

Above: Coupland’s artist sketch from 1957 photograph.  Below: the outdoor sculpture installation

Painters Eleven was founded in the Oshawa studio of  Alexandra Luke, one of its members.  Shortly after, Luke and her husband, Ewart McLaughlin, gave money and a significant collection of art work to help create a public gallery for the city. It was named for Ewart’s grandfather, Robert McLaughlin, an early Canadian industry baron whose carriage company eventually became part of General Motors. (Below: The original Painters Eleven group photo)

Douglas Coupland is a novelist whose fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training.  His Twitter profile is “never left art school.”

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