Canadian (born in Poland), 1921–1988
oil on canvas
167.6 x 305 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation
Gershon Iskowitz studied art in Poland and Germany before World War II, including private study under Oskar Kokoschka. A survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, he settled in Toronto after the war, becoming part of a wave of European immigrant artists that added to the sophistication of contemporary art appreciation in Canada. At the same time, Iskowitz developed a love for his new country’s landscape painting tradition, particularly the work of Tom Thomson. However, his approach to landscape was unique. In 1967 Iskowitz travelled by helicopter over Churchill, Manitoba. He was captivated by the visually dynamic patterned exchange between the low-lying clouds and the submerged variegated landscape. He developed a cloud-and-earth motif that he used in compositions that became increasingly abstract throughout the 1970s and 1980s.