Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday #FemArt: Alma Duncan (1917-2004)

1st Conference of Canadian Artists at Queen's University
This photograph caught my eye when it was tweeted by the Library and Archives Canada (@LibraryArchives) on November 14, 2014 and it has inspired this #FemFriday artist post about Alma Duncan (1917-2004) (who is seated in the second row wearing the white dress).

Alma was an Ottawa based artist who was born in Paris, Ontario in 1917, and later moved to Montreal in 1936 where she worked and studied under artists Ernst Neumann and Goodridge Roberts.

A self-portrait of the artist Alma Duncan
Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-146139 Copyright: Alma Duncan, c/o Audrey McLaren

Ottawa Art Gallery
 October 3, 2014 – January 11, 2015

I decided to visit the Art Gallery of Ottawa to see the exhibit called "Alma" 
before it closes on January 11, 2015.

 "Alma" is the title of the career retrospective of Duncan's work, now at the Ottawa Art Gallery to Jan. 11, 2015. This is the first ever retrospective of Alma Duncan.The exhibit  includes Duncan's works from as early as the 1930s covering 55 years of her life.

Alma's Woman series (1965) on display at the Art Gallery of Ottawa

According to the Ottawa Citizen article, Alma "painted ... compulsively, and in ever-changing choices of media and style. And she did more than just paint: she may be better known as a film-maker of international acclaim."

Alma's Abstracts on display at the Art Gallery of  Ottawa

OAG co-curator Jaclyn Meloche says about Duncan, "She wasn't just a painter. She wasn't just a filmmaker. She wasn't just a landscape pen and ink drawer. She was a woman who was uninhibited, brave and strong and curious and never let anything stop her," 

"(Duncan) made art every day of her life. It was an extension of her," 

(via kate.tenehouse) 

Young Black Girl (1940) on display at the
Art Gallery of Ottawa
(This painting inspired a poem by George Elliott Clarke)

Ottawa Citizen May 27, 1947
Ottawa Citizen May 27, 1947

Alma and her friend Audrey (Babs) McLaren (1916-2014) lived in homes in Arnprior, Cumberland and Ottawa, Ontario where they loved to entertain, always in the company of beloved family dogs.

Together they formed Dunclaren Productions and their stop animation films, peopled with handmade puppets, garnered international recognition.

Alma Duncan creating her NFB film Folksong Fantasy (1951) in Ottawa
Photo: Audrey McLaren

Alma Duncan, (left), animation artist, and Nina Finn, of the music department,
National Film Board of Canada. October 1949.

Alma's film props on display at the Art Gallery of Ottawa

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