Macdonald read contemporary art magazines and the most current writings on aesthetic theory, science, and mathematics. In 1939, the Macdonald family travelled to California and visited the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exhibition where the artist marvelled at the work of contemporary European and American modernists. His notes for his 1940 lecture “Art in Relation to Nature” reveal that his exploration of abstraction resulted from a deep commitment to a personal artistic expression that embodied “the force . . . to which the whole universe conforms.” His objective was to “express the consciousness of the time in which [the artist] lives.” As he wrote, “To be creative, truly creative, one . . . must speak in the idioms of the time in which one lives.”
Jock Macdonald: The Search for New Forms of Beauty
Detail of “Art in Relation to Nature,” notes for a lecture first delivered by Jock Macdonald in February 1940, collection of Marilyn Westlake Kuczer.