A Family Palette brings together for the first time the work of Frances-Anne Johnston, Franz Johnston and Franklin Arbuckle – three artists from the same family. Acting as a purposeful feminist recovery project, we focus more deeply on Frances-Anne. From this perspective, we consider the distinct practices of all three artists and how they intersect and diverge.
Using a feminist lens, we shed light on the ways Frances-Anne Johnston and her relatives have contributed to the development of Canadian art. As a woman working within a patriarchal society, Frances-Anne’s artistic career has not been as well documented as those of her father Franz or her husband Franklin, though she pushed forward conceptions of the Canadian Still Life with her aesthetic approach.
In turn, Franklin Arbuckle helped shape the post–Second World War Canadian consciousness with his commissions and work for Maclean’s magazine. An examination of his works brings importance to the often-overlooked practice of Canadian illustration.
Franz Johnston is nationally recognized for being a founding member of the Group of Seven, though he left the Group early and is its least-discussed member. This exhibition draws out lesser-known aspects of his life and work, including his establishment of Tondakea, a summer art school on Georgian Bay, and his proficiency as a painter of interiors.
In this exhibition we dive into themes of Canadian artist couples and patrilineal relationships, as well as legacies of the Group of Seven, by telling the story of a talented artistic family.