Curated by Joyce Zemans

Jock Macdonald (1897–1960) was a trailblazer in Canadian art from the 1930s to 1960 and the first painter to exhibit abstract art in Vancouver. Throughout his life he championed Canadian avant-garde artists at home and abroad. Searching always for a personal abstraction that would capture the spiritual and scientific aspects of the natural world, this renowned member of Painters Eleven helped bring Canadian art into the twentieth century. For more on Jock Macdonald read Joyce Zemans’s Jock Macdonald: Life & Work.


Joyce Zemans, C.M., is an art historian, curator, critic, teacher, and administrator. Her research has focused on the development of abstraction in Canadian art; the role of twenty-first-century museums; the formation of the art-historical canon; and the status of women artists. She is a former Dean of Fine Arts, York University, and Director of the Canada Council for the Arts.

  • In the White Forest

    In the White Forest 1932

  • Formative Colour Activity

    Formative Colour Activity 1934

  • Departing Day

    Departing Day 1936 (dated 1935)

  • Fall (Modality 16)

    Fall (Modality 16) 1937

  • Art in Relation to Nature

    Art in Relation to Nature February 1940

  • Russian Fantasy

    Russian Fantasy 1946

  • Scent of a Summer Garden

    Scent of a Summer Garden 1952

  • Black Evolving Forms

    Black Evolving Forms 1953

  • Legend of the Orient

    Legend of the Orient 1958

  • Nature Evolving

    Nature Evolving 1960

  • Far Off Drums

    Far Off Drums 1960

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