Happy Canada Day: 10 Canadian Artists You Should Know

A.Y. Jackson, Red Maple
A.Y. Jackson, Red Maple
sivertson.ca

If there's one thing I learned in my six years of living in Montreal, it's that Canada is a very scary place. Not scary in the sense of violence or political corruption or severe weather (although it has its moments with each of those realities). It's scary in the sense that they know everything about us...and we know nothing about them.

Case in point:

Show of hands: How many people actually thought they were going to name the five-dollar coin the "Woody?"

I don't mean to sound preachy; besides, after the Vancouver "Olympics" and the brash of bands, actors and comedians coming out of the Great White North, we're becoming more aware of our neighbors every day.

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But how about visual artists? Canada has its own rich history of producing great painters, sculptors, architects and illustrators that have achieved a high amount of international recognition. It's about time we learned their names. In the end, it can only help you: Imagine a Canadian rolling his or her eyes when you become the 80th American to mention how much you like Arcade Fire. But throw in a Group of 7 reference, and they'll love you forever.

In honor of Canada Day, which is tomorrow, here are 10 great Canadian artists you should know.

10. Douglas Coupland. Influential novelist and iconic installation artist.

Digital Orca
Digital Orca
coupland.com

 

9. Yousuf Karsh. Internationally renowned portrait photographer.

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway

 

8. Cornelius Krieghoff. One of the first historical painters to romanticize French Canadian daily life.

Untitled (Bilking the Toll)
Untitled (Bilking the Toll)
wag.ca

 

7. Emily Carr. One of the first Canadian painters to adopt a post-impressionist painting style.

A Forest Clearing
A Forest Clearing
rusart.ca

 

6. Norval Morrisseau. "The Picasso of the North."

Family
Family
coghlanart.com

 

5. Paul Kane. Kane's artwork is among the earliest record of life in the Northwest before white settlement.

The Death of Omoxesisixany or Big Snake
The Death of Omoxesisixany or Big Snake
ahpcs.org

 

4. Frank Gehry. If it's postmodern/awesome/WTF architecture, it's probably Gehry.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
frillseekerdiary.com

 

3. A.Y. Jackson. Founder and leading member of the influential Group of 7 artists.

Edge of the Maple Wood
Edge of the Maple Wood
Arthistoryarchive.com

 

2. Jean-Paul Riopelle One of the members of "Les Automatistes," named for their spontaneous way of working

Demontée
Demontée
godardgallery.com

 

1. Edward Burtynsky Internationally renowned photographer exploring the links between industry and nature.

Oxford Tire Pile #2
Oxford Tire Pile #2

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