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Item Name: Painting
Title: October Evening
Maker: Wesley Dennis
Year: 1954
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on burlap
Measurements: overall: 41.2 cm x 62 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.9
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: Wesley Dennis worked as a farmer and cattle rancher in the Moose Jaw area in southern Saskatchewan. A self-taught artist, he painted the land familiar to him, portraying the light and weather as he encountered it. Like Ruth Pawson, a landscape painter of a similar generation, he included contemporary architecture and farm animals in his compositions. This painting of cows in the pasture captures the warm colours of late fall on the prairies, and farm buildings in the distance. Though many self-taught and folk artists have used unconventional art materials, the burlap canvas that this is painted on was a popular art material at the time, for the dimensional quality of the cloth weave. Today, jute and burlap are no longer used, as they have proven to be not archival, often becoming brittle in a short time. Wesley Dennis (1899-1981) was born in the orchard region of Wyoming, Ontario, but grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He became interested in art as a young age, copying reproductions of Group of Seven paintings. By fifteen, Dennis was experienced in drawing, watercolours and oils. Though he was never formally trained, Dennis continued to read books on painting and studied the works of other artists. He was involved in the local art community, becoming a member of the Moose Jaw Fine Art Guild in 1952, eventually serving as president of the organization. His artwork has been exhibited regionally and is often shown in conjunction with paintings by Eva Dennis, his wife. Their artwork is held in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern, the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery and others.