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Item Name: Print
Title: Migration II
Maker: Marion Nicoll
Year: 1968
Country: Canadian
Materials: clay print on paper
Measurements: in frame: 60.6 cm x 54.6 cm; work: 43 cm x 37 cm
ID Number: ART 090
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: Marion Nicoll’s approach to landscape transformed greatly from realism to abstraction over her long and noteworthy career. In 1945, while teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts (now The Banff Centre), Nicoll was introduced to “automatic drawing” by Jock MacDonald, a member of the Toronto-based Painters Eleven. This meditative process is similar to doodling and allows the artist to develop imagery through unconscious and free expression. Over the years, Nicoll continued to experiment with the elements of painting and printmaking, and her summer at Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake Artist Workshop in 1957 with American abstract painter Will Barnet was a pivotal experience. This artwork, “Migration II” is an artist-made print created with the unusual technique of using carved clay as the printing plate. As suggested by the title, the subject matter in this abstract image, birds in flight, can be seen in the black shapes which visually resemble silhouettes of flying geese. Marion Nicoll RCA (1909-1985) was an important figure in Canadian art, both as a feminist and as an early practitioner of abstract art. Born in Calgary, Nicoll studied at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University), the Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (now the Alberta University of the Arts), and the LCC School of Arts and Crafts in London, England. Returning to Alberta, Nicoll became the first female instructor at the Alberta University of the Arts (1933-1966). She was also the first woman in the prairies to be elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, and in 1958, her work was recognized with the Province of Alberta Achievement Award. She pursued innovation in her work, experimenting with many printmaking techniques, including woodblock and clay prints. Nicoll was also an early adopter of digital techniques, and one of the first artists to work with the Apple computer (using the "MacPaint" program) to produce limited edition prints.