Wall for Hammurabi, 1958
mixed media collage on masonite
122 x 122 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee and the Canada Council
Harold Town was a major voice for Toronto’s Painters Eleven group. Wall for Hammurabi was purchased the year it was produced, after being exhibited at the nation-wide annual juried exhibition at the WAG, The Winnipeg Show, in 1958. A major element of the piece, testifying to Town’s experimentation with materials, is the torn fragments of the artist’s own monoprints. This work shows Town’s desire to fill the surface with marks, and points to the evolution his work would take in the 1960s toward whimsical Pop Art–inspired collage. The title of the work refers to an ancient Babylonian king, who instituted an early legal code that was preserved on an inscribed wall-sized slab of basalt, which was rediscovered in the early twentieth century.