Frederick Horsman Varley
Canadian (born in England), 1881–1969
View from the Artist's Bedroom Window, Jericho Beach, 1929
oil on canvas
99.4 x 83.8 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee and the Woods-Harris Trust Fund No. 1
Frederick Varley was born in Sheffield, England, but moved to Toronto in 1912 and became a founding member of the Group of Seven in 1920. He eventually relocated to Vancouver in the mid-1920s, where this work was painted. View from the Artist’s Bedroom Window, Jericho Beach expresses something of Varely’s deep, albeit eclectic, spiritual concerns. Resistant to the institutional trappings of organized religion, Varley turned increasingly to eastern mysticism for spiritual insight, and sought the divine through personal interaction with the natural world. The visual rhythm created by the lapping waves draws attention away from the surface details of nature, toward an underlying and essential order. The painting shows his adaptation of non-Western principles of pictorial space, which he had gleaned from Chinese and Japanese art while living in British Columbia.