Finding Florence Opening Reception

by W.C. Allen, author of A Collection of Works By Florence Helena McGillivray, published by Friesen Press in 2016

I was thrilled at the attendance and comments received from the public opening and related events for the start of Station Gallery’s Finding Florence retrospective exhibition. It was my great pleasure to work with Olexander Wlasenko, the gallery’s eminent Curator, on coordinating the show and bringing it to fruition.

Station Gallery’s professional staff did a marvelous job of putting all the elements together. It was rewarding for me to hear such positive comments from the general public, dignitaries and art scholars who attended. One patron and long-time supporter of Station Gallery, Bill Irwin, told me he felt it was one of the best shows he had seen at the gallery, and that it fit well into his vision of the gallery.

I was also encouraged by the connection to the theme of Ingrid Ruthig’s most interesting exhibition that opened in conjunction with the Florence McGillivray show, and fascinated that indeed her woven images of prominent women also included an image of Florence McGillivray. I hope Florence McGillivray would be pleased as a daughter of Whitby that in a year of historic celebrations of Canada’s 150th year since Confederation that she has been remembered. My greatest hope is that her place in early twentieth century Canadian art history will be reviewed. Once examined more closely, her legacy of contributions will be elevated to the status of her contemporaries like Emily Carr, and the Group of Seven. She knew them, she associated with them and she influenced them, especially in the case of Tom Thomson. Florence McGillivray was an accomplished artist and educator who moved easily in Canadian art circles in this country’s major art centres and around the world, and had an affect on the Canadian modernist art movement.

The exhibition runs until December 10, and I hope many more will take the time to come and enjoy this sample of a great artist’s work.

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