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Item Name: Painting
Title: Untitled (This First Effort...)
Maker: William McCargar
Year: n.d.
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil pastel, pencil on pressboard
Measurements: overall: 48 cm x 40.2 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.34

Extended Label Info: Bill McCargar was one of several self-taught artists working in Saskatchewan in the twentieth century. He painted his subject matter from memory, drawing on his experiences from a career as a CP Rail-Station agent in small towns throughout Southern Saskatchewan. McCargar’s art work often features a flat, nearly abstract landscape, similar to a diorama or theatrical backdrop. To create a sense of depth and distance, he also incorporates a railway or road drawn in a strong, one-point perspective, but his enigmatic use of scale, with disproportionately sized telephone poles, train tracks or grain elevators, creates a skewed or dream-like sense of reality. He is also known for using a mixture of materials, including glitter, which inspired well-known Regina artist David Thauberger to be similarly experimental in his own practice. William Coulsen McCargar (1906 – 1987) was born in 1906 in Newcastle, Ontario and grew up in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. He worked for Canadian Pacific Railways in many different prairie towns before settling in Regina. McCargar began painting using paint-by-number sets, but in 1958 on the advice of his neighbor, the acclaimed artist Ken Lochhead, he began creating his own compositions. Like many other folk-artists of his generation, McCargar received support and recognition from the Saskatchewan arts community through exhibition and collection. A major retrospective of his work was held by Dunlop Art Gallery in 1987. His work is held in public collections including the Canadian Museum of History in Hull, Quebec.