Remarks on Canadian Landscape Painting Before the Group of Seven
The motif of the cast shadow seems particularly popular in Canadian painting between 1900 and 1920, and it can be interpreted solely in its decorative and formal terms. The appearance and frequency of this theme, however, lead me to propose a more fundamental reading that works on a number of different levels. Three specific paintings may be addressed in this context: Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté's Settlement on the Hillside (1909, National Gallery of Canada); A.Y. Jackson's Edge of the Maplewood (1910, National Gallery of Canada); J.E.H. MacDonald's Morning Shadows (1912, Art Gallery of Ontario). My interpretations of the motif are predicated on socio-political and psychological considerations, and employ elements borrowed from the analysis of cultural discourse, semiology and psychoanalysis.