Dixon Passing 1956
Harold Town, The Dixon Passing Mugg’s Island, 1956
Oil on Masonite, 122 x 124.5 cm
Estate of Harold Town
Town insisted that his paintings are rooted in his personal memories and experiences. The Dixonwas a ferryboat operating between the city and Toronto Islands, where Town frequently went for beach outings with his friends Walter Yarwood (1917–1996) and Tom Hodgson (1924–2006). Many of his paintings of the time refer to these excursions. The Dixon Passing Mugg’s Island shows the development of Town’s pictorial thinking. The composition is simplified into larger, bold shapes, bounded by tautly curving outlines. The various areas have distinct qualities of colour and texture owing to the scumbled paint application. The painting creates a strong tension between the power of reference (we see a smokestack emitting a billowing greenish-black cloud) and the perception that this is a flat design filling out the square of the canvas.