HAROLD BARLING TOWN, R.C.A.
THE OUTSIDE INTERIOR, 1960
oil on masonite
signed and dated '60
12 ins x 12 ins; 30.5 cms x 30.5 cms
A highly creative, prolific and outspoken Toronto artist, Town gained international recognition early in his career. He worked in a variety of styles and media, but was first known for his “single autographic” prints and the abstract, gestural paintings that owed much to American Abstract Expressionism, especially the work of Willem de Kooning. A founding member of Painters Eleven, Town distinguished himself in his use of colour and bravura paint application.
The Outside Interior is characteristic of Town’s painting at the height of his career in the early 1960s. The artist has struck a balance between the orderly division of the square picture plane and the rapid execution of the central section, held in place by a green border. The significance of the rapidly brushed forms is unclear; however, Town was exploring the theme of “inside” and “outside” in other works, and was interested in art history. The Outside Interior suggests the Renaissance idea of the picture as a window through which the viewer observes another reality, constructed by the use of artificial perspective. The “window” is the area framed in green through which we see the artist at work.
We thank Christine Boyanoski for contributing the above essay.
John Morris Gallery, Toronto