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Item Name: Painting
Title: Untitled (petrified wood)
Maker: Arthur McKay
Year: 1970
Country: Canadian
Materials: enamel on masonite
Measurements: overall: 119.5 cm x 120.3 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.36

Extended Label Info: One of Saskatchewan’s most prominent abstract artists, Art McKay was instrumental in introducing abstract painting to the Prairies, known for his paintings created with stove pipe enamel over latex. Utilizing circular and rectangular formats, McKay created contemplative images reflecting his interest in Zen Buddhism. This can be seen in Untitled (petrified wood) where though it does not have the intricate designs of a Buddhist Mandala, its symmetry and repetitive patterning reflect its influence. McKay’s mandala includes an abstract interpretation of a piece of wood, highlighting the calming affects that nature can provide. As a member of the renowned group of abstract painters called The Regina Five, his use of non-traditional art materials has influenced future artistic practices in Saskatchewan and abroad. Art McKay (1926-2000) was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, settling in Regina in 1940. McKay attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary from 1946-48 and then at the Acedémie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in 1947. In 1951, McKay returned to Regina to teach at the School of Art (Regina Campus, University of Saskatchewan). In 1961, the National Gallery of Canada organized the exhibition of “Five Painters from Regina”. The famous American art critic, Clement Greenberg, played a major role in McKay’s development, including him in the 1964 Los Angeles County Museum exhibition called Post Painterly Abstraction. His paintings are now part of many public and corporate collections, including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Vancouver Art Gallery, Shell Oil Ltd., the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Canada Council Art Bank, the and many others.