Douglas Haynes, "San Pedro," 1990, acrylic on canvas, 90.5" x 56.25".
ALBERTA: Douglas Haynes: The Toledo Series, Jan 22-Feb 27, 2005 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton. Also: Cadaqués: New Paintings, February, Virginia Christopher Fine Art, Calgary
By Mary Joyce
Douglas Haynes believes the Toledo Series is his “most important body of work, whether or not it’s the best.” Virginia Christopher, his Calgary dealer since 1981, declares him to be “one of the most important and best abstract painters in Western Canada these days.” He is Edmonton’s senior abstract painter, Regina-born, educated at the Alberta College of Art & Design, and instructor of generations of painters at the University of Alberta. The two enormous vertical paintings from 1992, right and left of the main Edmonton City Hall staircase, are his.
Travels in Europe exposed Haynes to the heroic scale, drama and storytelling flair of painters like El Greco, Rembrandt, Delacroix and Velasquez, bringing him to the conclusion that, “we gave up way too much for abstraction.” He wished to paint a “great big picture,” as did Delacroix, who put a full-sized horse in one heroic work. He says, “My great big picture has 13 pieces.”
That picture emerged at Emma Lake in 1988: “I knew as I painted it, it was the signature piece I'd been waiting for all these years, and there it was unfolding before me.” This important painting was the first of the Toledo Series; by 1990 he had 13 pieces.
“Each painting looks terrific, but they look better together.” Haynes has kept the entire series, and is now donating it to the Edmonton Art Gallery. First shown at the EAG in 1992, the series has appeared at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Whyte Museum in Banff and the Alberta College of Art & Design. It is being shown again at the EAG 13 years after the first exhibition in honour of Haynes’ donation.
Represented by: Scott Gallery, Edmonton; Virginia Christopher Fine Art, Calgary; Willock & Sax Gallery, Waterton, AB; Gallery One, Toronto.