Arthur Fortescue McKay - Interview with Timothy Long - The Regina Five

The Regina Five is really an interesting phenomenon.  Here you have a group of painters working in a non-representational, abstract mode in a small prairie city that, at the time, in the late 1950s-early 1960s, was…maybe numbered 50,000 people, and was quite removed from the major art centres of the day, which in Canada would be Toronto or Montreal [and] in terms of North America would be New York.  So they were very much on the margins, and yet within a few years they were considered central to the debates which were going on around abstract art in North America.  So it’s, I think, a sign of what can happen in a community the size of Regina when you get a group of young fired-up artists.  But it also points to the difficulties of that situation, where you’re on the margins looking towards the centre and always anxious about that relationship.  So it has that kind of dual nature: you both like it because it’s a story of the little guy from the sticks who made it in the big time, but it’s also a story about having to look elsewhere for that sense of purpose and of what was important at the time - that we couldn’t find it here.  We had to look to New York for our inspiration and for our directions.  And so I think there’s a real ambivalence towards that narrative around the Regina Five which continues to today.  But that said, it’s an amazing episode and the work that they produced is still vibrant and alive.

Duration: 2:30 min
Size: 11440kb

Other Videos About This Artist

Interview with Timothy Long - The Regina Five
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning