This post for the Intern Files is written by Madison Cawker. Madison is an intern this summer with our communications team and is a Candidate for Diploma in Arts Management at the University of Western Ontario.
Painters Eleven are a powerful force in Canadian art history on both a local and national scale. In an era of predominantly landscape art, they helped raise the profile of abstraction and inspire the next generation of modernist artists.
Their influence has directly touched the RMG through our connection with Painters Eleven (P11) member Alexandra Luke. Her significant donations have, in part, given the gallery the largest Painters Eleven collection in Canada and the ability to continue inspiring our community through art.
Painters Eleven are celebrated online through biographical websites, online collections and web encyclopedia entries. Upon examining popular resource Wikipedia, however, we noticed a gap in information. While P11 members such as Jack Bush, Jock McDonald and Kazuo Nakamura had in-depth articles written about them, the women of the group, Alexandra Luke and Hortense Gordon, did not have any published information available.
Inspired by the work of the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative and the Global Women Wikipedia Write-in (#GWWI), I sought to fix this information gap. I wanted to share the lives and works of these important Canadian women artists not only because of their impact on the RMG but also because of their important contributions to the development and reception of abstract art in Canada.
Using a variety of references from our Joan Murray Artists’ Files and the RMG research library, I researched Alexandra and Hortense then put together two Wikipedia articles that reflect the vitality and impact of their arts careers. It was a time consuming process but it was ultimately very interesting work. I also got to learn some fun facts about the women. For example, did you know Hortense Gordon had an intense sibling rivalry with her artist sister Marion?
As of early July, both articles have been published and are available to read on Wikipedia.
Read about Alexandra Luke on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Luke
Read about Hortense Gordon on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hortense_Gordon
I believe that it is important for women to be included in the narrative of Canadian art history. I have now gone on to create and edit several more articles on Wikipedia including entries for Joan Murray (art historian and former director of the RMG), Isabel McLaughlin, and the Canadian Group of Painters. I feel proud to have helped support Canadian art history in a small way.