Coexistence

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Untitled (horses)
horses, linocut, horses linocut, topographies, qualities of perception, experiencing the landscape through the work of art, visual excitement, relationship of things in the environment, foreground, middle gorund, background, flattening pictorial space, topographies,prints, printmaking, serigraphs, ambiguity in art,
description

While Wynona Mulcaster is best known as a  landscapeA painting, photograph or other work of art which depicts scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers and forests. There is invariably some sky in the scene. (Artlex.com) Landscape is also a term that may also refer simply to a horizontally-oriented rectangle, just as a vertically-oriented one may be said to be oriented the portrait way. (Artlex.com)  painter, she loved horses from an early age. “Half of my life is about painting, and the other half is about horses,” she said in an interview. (Saskatoon Library News, 2003)

The untitled linocut of horses presented here from the Mendel Art Gallery is one of many prints and paintings that Mulcaster has produced. It also illustrates many of the characteristics that make her landscapes distinctive.

start quoteArt is a language. It's not a skill. It's not a stunt. It's not something that you just learn to do and put it down. It comes from the heart.end quote-- Wynona Mulcaster (Artist Keys)

“Throughout her lengthy career,” art critic Robert Enright wrote, “she has been attracted to topographies from which she gets a particular feeling of energy and excitement. She is concerned with more essential things than literal depiction: how to realize the qualities of perception and paint which create for the viewer the potent sensation of experiencing the landscape without being in it.” (Enright, 1984)

Mulcaster herself put it this way: “It’s not the  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  you paint, it’s how you paint it. I feel aroused by the energy of nature and the land. I like to share it with other people. I don’t go looking for pretty landscapes…I find visual excitement in the way things relate.” (Saskatoon Library News, 2003)

The untitled work presented here also shares similarities with Mulcaster’s landscapes in the way she flattens the  pictorialOf or pertaining to pictures; illustrated by pictures; forming pictures; representing with the clearness of a picture; as, a pictorial dictionary; a pictorial imagination. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  space, not allowing the viewer’s eye to rest on any one part of the picture. While the horses and riders are clearly the dominant shapes, there is no clear breakdown of foreground, middleground or  backgroundPart of the picture plane that seems to be farthest from the viewer.  among the elements in the print.

This untitled work also illustrates what writer Sheila Robertson describes as an  ambiguityAny idea that is not clearly stated within an art work, leaving lots of room for interpretation  that entered Mulcaster’s work under the influence of Mexico’s stunning desert light. While this work could have been created in either her summer or winter home, the bright, tropical colours suggest it represents a Mexican scene.

Art schools often do more harm than good. They should teach artists to find their own way, and to know how to assess their own work. Ask yourself questions, listen to your own little voice, paddle your own canoe. – Wynona Mulcaster
additional resources On Wynona Mulcaster
Duration: 1:58 min
Size: 8305kb
Things to Think About
  • Mulcaster, who taught art to children and adults, once observed that, “With art, you have to look inward and outward. Children naturally look inward and paint what they feel.” Does Untitled (horses) illustrate Mulcaster’s feelings? If so, how has she used structure to help the viewer share what she was feeling?
  • In 1978 Mulcaster told writer James Purdie that her work deals with the idea of landscape, not the specifics. How do you think Untitled (horses) reflects this approach?
Advanced Activity

Horses in art

Do some research on the work of the artists listed below. All of the artists have used the horse as  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter.

Wynona Mulcaster

Susan Rothenberg

George Stubbs

Franz Marc

Fritz Scholder

Joe Fafard

Michael Lonechild

Look for other examples of the horse in art history to add to this list.

Online Activity
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Create a  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  of horses in the landscape.

Studio Activity

Horses are a recurring  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter in Wynona Mulcaster paintings. She has stated, “Half of my life is about  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  and the other half is about horses.” (Library News, Saskatoon Public Library, December 2002 -February 2003 at http://www.saskatoonlibrary.ca/pdf/Mulcaster.pdf). It’s easy to understand then how horses, as an important part of Mulcaster’s life, are also part of the landscape she paints.

Create a  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  of an animal that is important to you

  • Select an animal that you like and are familiar with. This may be your pet or an animal you see in your surroundings such as a bird, squirrel, deer, etc.
  • Take a number of photographs of the animal. You will need to be patient and take lots of photos to get a good image to work with.
  • Select the best photograph to work from and print it on paper or onto a transparency if you want to project it using an overhead projector. 

For tips on photographing pets and other animals go to:

For tips to photographing birds in your neighbourhood go to:

For tips on drawing with a  gridA framework or pattern of criss-crossed or parallel lines. A lattice. When criss-crossed, lines are conventionally horizontal and vertical; and when lines are diagonal, they are usually at right angles to each other. Typically graph paper is a grid of lines. Things which are often gridded: tiles, tessellations, wire screens, chess boards, maps, graphs, charts, calendars, and modern street plans. (Artlex.com)  go to:

For tips on painting animals go to:

References

Author unknown.  ‘Nonie Mulcaster views Mexico through her art.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 1978.

Author unknown.  ‘Teachers, parents rapped for rejecting child’s art.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, February 11, 1980.

Author unknown.  ‘For the Love of Art: Don’t stifle children’s’ creativity, urges artist.’  Library News.  Saskatoon Public Library, December 2002 – February 2003.

Author unknown.  ‘Wynona Croft Mulcaster.’  Saskatchewan Arts Board.  Retrieved from the Internet on April 9, 2008 from:  http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/showcase/FromFartoNear/FFtoN_9.htm

Christensen, Lisa.  ‘Wynona Mulcaster: Art is a dangerous thing.’  Artichoke, Spring 2003.

Deadman, Patricia.  ‘Mulcaster, Wynona.’  The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.  Retrieved from the Internet on April 9, 2008 from:  http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/mulcaster_wynona_1915-.html

Enright, Robert.  Wynona Mulcaster: A survey 1973 – 1982.  Exhibition catalogue.  Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta, September/October 1984.

Genn, Robert, editor.  ‘Wynona Mulcaster.’  Art Quotes.  Retrieved from the Internet on April 9, 2008 from:  http://quote.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=718

Perry, Meta.  ‘Artist’s landscapes "exciting".’  Regina Leader Post, Regina, December 20, 1984.

Purdie, James.  ‘Mulcaster rejoices in sky and earth.’  The Globe and Mail, Toronto, October 14, 1978.

Robertson, Sheila.  ‘Mexico/Saskatchewan coalesce in landscapes of Wynona Mulcaster.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Saskatoon, September 21, 1991.

Robertson, Sheila.  ‘Show tribute to 50 years of painting by Mulcaster.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Saskatoon, undated.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning