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Across the Country of Saskatchewan
landscape, Woman artist, folk art, past rural life, community, memory, horse and wagon, prairie elevator, winter, acrylic painting, mixed media, agriculture, bird's eye view, flattened space, labour, rural women, everyday activity, nostalgic, immigrant, self-taught artist, panoramic view, historical reference, grassroots, buildings, narrative
description

Traveling around within Ann Harbuz’s  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)  Across the Country of Saskatchewan, the viewer is treated to a journey into the past and is able to observe the life and times of a prairie rural community in the early 1900s.

Harbuz depicted her North Battleford, Saskatchewan community in this painting complete with the rolling terrain and the many bluffs of trees common to this area. She includes within the terrain examples of humans interacting with their environment. The  iconicOf a picture; a sculpture, or even a building, when regarded as an object of veneration. (Artlex.com)  prairie grain elevator is still part of the landscape along with horses and wagons. One sign of the machine age is apparent in the  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  of a truck near the centre of the work, but as yet no power lines are apparent. Images of objects and ideas important to the survival of the community and agriculture have been selected by Harbuz.

Within this predominently  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)  painting, Harbuz has included a close-up bird’s-eye view of an interior scene. It is a kitchen and within the kitchen is a housewife preparing food for the family. One could surmise that Harbuz wanted to include ideas relating to valuable contribution of women as well as men to the development of prairie agriculture and community.

additional resources Ann Harbuz and Folk Art
Duration: 2:22 min
Size: 10452kb
Things to Think About
  • What are the people doing in Harbuz’s painting? When and where did these people live? What details can you find to support your ideas? How are things different from today?
  • Do you sometimes get the idea you are looking through walls? What is she showing us in her the interior scenes? Do you think she is commenting on the role of women in the development of the prairies and possibly proposing they contributed equally with the men? Does she suggest any ideas of marginality in her work?
  • What labours does she show in the work? What does it tell us about the lives of early settlers in Saskatchewan? Is she dealing with everyday activities in a sentimental way?
Studio Activity

Road trip

  • Take a road trip and document some places you have been.
  • What are some of the attractions there?
  • Select one or two of your favourite places.
  • Make drawings of the places and cut them out. 
  • Arrange the images to create a real or imaginary map of your location.

Visual diary

  • Make a visual diary of the events and places you visited in one week. 
  • Overlap and layer the images.
  • Reflect back on your work and decide how your work suggests your social world and your place within it.

Across the Country of Saskatchewan

  • Can you find teams of horses with different numbers of horses hitched to the wagon?
  • What do you think the size of the teams says about the people who own them?
  • Paint an animal that you have seen living or working in your community.
References

Harbuz, Ann.  Inside Community, Outside Convention.  Exhibition catalogue. Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1998.

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