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Vancouver, Douglas & Mclntyre, c1983.
239pp, cloth, $29.95.
ISBN 0-88894-392-X.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by J. E. Simpson.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

In partial commemoration of its centennial, Canadian Pacific in 1981 provided funding for a television series and book about contemporary art in Canada. They share the same title, Visions, and necessity, some of the same artists, but in most respects, they are quite different treatments of parallel material. The films, produced by TV Ontario, and released last fall, offer first-person explorations of how and why a sampling of living Canadian artists illuminate the things that matter to them; the book, in a series of six essays, attempts to illustrate the circumstances of the works of individuals that made both Visions possible.

The book is handsome, suitably illustrated, and often instructive. Although the editors' foreword carries the caveat that it is neither a history nor a survey (it appears to be a thematic consideration of both), Visions provides some understanding of the people and the influences that brought Canadian art from Group-of-Seven parochialism into the ante-chambers of international sensibility in the space of thirty years.

The essays contain some lyrical and arresting passages, as well as some remarkably dense ones. There are stretches, unfortunately near the beginning of the book, when the language sounds as if it might have been lifted from a mid-sixties' edition of Arts Canada. A much more coherent treatment of the same material is available in Contemporary Canadian Art (Hurtig, 1983), also published last year.

J. E. Simpson, Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton, AB.
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