Genius Loci | Tweetchat on the Canadian Landscape

Left: Tom Thomson, Palette, wood, paint, 58.3 x 38.7 cm x 0.8 cm. Image courtesy of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Right: Jon Sasaki, Microbes Swabbed from Palettes Used By Casson, Thomson and Varley. (production photo) object courtesy of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

The Art Gallery of Mississauga hosted its first ever Tweetchat last Thursday, October 18, from 11 am – 12 noon. In conjunction with current exhibition Genius Loci, the Tweetchat focused on the topic of The Canadian Landscape.

GENIUS LOCI TWEETCHAT

What role does visual art play in our perception and experience of the Canadian Landscape? How have Google Maps and the Internet reshaped our response to the landscape? How can contemporary artists assist us with seeing a future of the Landscape?

Using the hashtag #AGMchat, the Art Gallery of Mississauga asked the following questions:

Q1: What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Canadian landscape”?
Q2: How has this impression been formed by the Group of Seven?
Q3: Has the Internet changed our experience of the landscape today?
Q4:  Do Google maps and Instagram “tame” our experience of the landscape?
Q5: What is a way to re-engage with the Group of Seven?
Q6: How has the urban landscape been explored in contemporary art?
Q7: What artistic media present the landscape experience particularly well? Why?
Q8: Genius Loci is defined as our experience of a place……does landscape need to be experienced?
Q9: Have you been to your own Genius Loci lately?

Some interesting points came up during the discussion:

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Canadian landscape”?

jamesfowler Canada doesn’t have town after town crammed together like Europe and I think many take this space for granted. #AGMchat -11:06 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Perhaps it’s time to expand our definition of the landscape:

alishakassam @artgallerymiss Canadian landscapes are the places and faces that make Canada home – not just the aesthetic qualities of the North. #AGMchat -11:07 AM Oct 18th, 2012

alishakassam @artgallerymiss @jamesfowler Agreed – but how many Canadians can relate to this representation? Most are in the population belt. #AGMchat -11:13 AM Oct 18th, 2012

The Internet may be no replacement for physical experience of the landscape, however it makes landscape art more widely accessible.

 TTLastSpring A3 In my time the Railways changed our experience of landscape. The internet will do the same #AGMCHAT -11:15 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ShilpaRaikar A3: The internet gives us more accessibility to view a lot of collections online. I don’t know if it has changed us that much…#AGMchat -11:15 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ShilpaRaikar A3: …just gives us more accessibility and ability to appreciate it when you don’t have a chance to go to an art gallery. #AGMchat -11:15 AM Oct 18th, 2012

TTLastSpring @artgallerymiss Viewing a painting whether by canvas or pixels is only part of the experience. #AGMCHAT -11:19 AM Oct 18th, 2012

hotspurstudio Q3 @StoneRidgeArt @artgallerymiss No replacement for being in the wilderness but then again I think the term landscape is cerebral #AGMchat -11:18 AM Oct 18th, 2012

hotspurstudio @artgallerymiss A3 I live near Algonquin Park, this dualism between man and nature seems to fade when immersed day to day #AGMchat -11:22 AM Oct 18th, 2012

jamesfowler Q3: We can now rapidly access representation of places without ever being there. #ForestTreeFallsOnYouTube #AGMchat -11:19 AM Oct 18th, 2012

How do Instagram and Google Maps affect our experience of the landscape?

jamesfowler A4: We have the opportunity to explore more of it from an armchair with out exposure to the elements. There’s a disconnect. #AGMchat -11:23 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ROMtoronto A4: ‘tame’ assumes that all landscapes are ‘wild’, not so… #AGMchat -11:26 AM Oct 18th, 2012

mcacgallery A4. #AGMchat Instagram filters images (often in an ethereal way) which can create a whole new perspective. -11:27 AM Oct 18th, 2012

TTLastSpring A4 not all of us have the luxury of ‘being there’ in the moment. That’s the point of a painting or picture #AGMCHAT -11:27 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ShilpaRaikar A4: I think they can actually add more intrigue – making us want more and experience the real thing. #AGMchat -11:23 AM Oct 18th, 2012

alishakassam @artgallerymiss landscapes aren’t as shockingly beautiful if you’ve seen it 5 times over on social sites. The “ah” moment is lost. #AGMchat -11:23 AM Oct 18th, 2012

How do we re-engage with the Group of Seven?

Stutzart@alishakassam Genius Loci is how we begin to engage with the Group of 7 #AGMchat -11:31 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Stutzart Genius Loci is how we reimagine or define a landscape….interior, exterior or armchair. Group of 7 needs to reanimated #AGMchat -11:31 AM Oct 18th, 2012

jamesfowler Q5: I’m doing that now with my work by retracing their steps, finding out where they were when painting. #AGMchat -11:29 AM Oct 18th, 2012

derekweidl#AGMchat – A5 Holographic Tom Thomson anyone? -11:34 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Stutzart holographic….now that is how we reimagine the Group of 7. It begins with contemporary views of current landscape. #AGMchat -11:36 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Interesting question from one of the participants:

 laurajaneritchi #AGMchat A5 let’s think about how and why it is that G7 are so tied to national identity. beyond the canoe or canvas… politics? #AGMchat -11:33 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ben_weeks @laurajaneritchi #AGMchat We’re sensitive about National Identity & so need cultural heroes. Impressionism Lite? -11:34 AM Oct 18th, 2012

laurajaneritchi @artgallerymiss A5 does it matter if our heros or the images we cling to and re-present are somewhat fictitious? #AGMchat -11:38 AM Oct 18th, 2012

On the urban landscape:

 hotspurstudio @THEMUSEUM @artgallerymiss Q6 William Kurelek’s paintings of Hamilton and Subury #AGMchat -11:37 AM Oct 18th, 2012

jamesfowler A6: Chris Burden’s sculpture @LAMCA sums urbanism up well http://t.co/8CbrS8bj #AGMchat -11:40 AM Oct 18th, 2012

mcacgallery A6 Many urban landscapes have become the canvases themselves via street art. #AGMchat -11:42 AM Oct 18th, 2012

laurajaneritchi Q6 #AGMchat can we be as excited about street art/graffiti as we were about G7? is that not reflecting some of our ‘Spirit’? #AGMchat -11:40 AM Oct 18th, 2012

jamesfowler A6: Urban materials emulating nature is also interesting http://t.co/BOHNW34z #AGMchat -11:44 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ben_weeks @artgallerymiss @laurajaneritchi Can landscapes and the http://t.co/M0yGj6Mo aesthetic merge well with graffiti? #AGMchat -11:45 AM Oct 18th, 2012

On the urban vs rural landscape:

ben_weeks @hotspurstudio @artgallerymiss #AGMchat Nature reminds us of our vulnerability, the city can subtly enforce seductive illusions of power. -11:52 AM Oct 18th, 2012

How can we redefine the term “landscape”?

 Stutzart the term “landscape” is in need of a new definition my friends…. #AGMchat -11:49 AM Oct 18th, 2012

THEMUSEUM RT @artgallerymiss: How would you define it? RT @Stutzart the term “landscape” is in need of a new definition my friends….#AGMchat -11:52 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Stutzart @themuseum In terms of Canadian experience, landscape could be more urban rather than rural. Most of popn lives near US border. #AGMchat -11:57 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Have you experienced your own Genius Loci lately?

jamesfowler A9. I do every time I bike down Beverley Street. #AGMchat -11:55 AM Oct 18th, 2012

TheTomThomson #AGMchat Yesterday, when I was sitting in the Thomson Room, filled with his amazing landscape painting. #AGMchat -11:55 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ShilpaRaikar #AGMchat Q9: Indeed. You never tire of your local Genius loci -11:55 AM Oct 18th, 2012

jamesfowler A9. i have a romanticized view of the spaces where G7 paintings hang. @mcmcagallery has fond memories for me as much as canoeing. #AGMchat -11:59 AM Oct 18th, 2012

mcacgallery A9 Fortunate enough to come to one five days a week – Inspiration inside and out. #AGMchat -12:00 PM Oct 18th, 2012

Final word on Genius Loci:

ben_weeks @Stutzart #AGMchat How could Go7 be reanimated? -11:32 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Stutzart @ben_weeks Through Genius Loci! E.g. Mississauga – landscape very multicultural. Need to go beyond single idea of landscape. #AGMchat -11:58 AM Oct 18th, 2012

ben_weeks @Stutzart Is Genius Loci a bit like zeitgeist? #AGMchat -11:59 AM Oct 18th, 2012

Stutzart Yes! It’s iconoclastic. RT @ben_weeks: @Stutzart Is Genius Loci a bit like zeitgeist? #AGMchat -12:01 PM Oct 18th, 2012

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Tweetchat! Special thanks to Tom Thomson as well as gallery and museum friends The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Tom Thomson Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and THE MUSEUM for joining in!

Next #AGMchat will be on upcoming AGM exhibition (Da bao)(Takeout), on Thurs, November 29, 11 am – 12 noon. Mark your calendars!

Follow the Art Gallery of Mississauga on Twitter @artgallerymiss as well as AGM Curator Stuart Keeler @StutzArt for more Twitter discussions on art and culture!

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