GUELPH – The Art Gallery of Guelph is presenting Lest We Forget, featuring the artwork of painter Charles Pachter. The exhibition opens Oct. 27 and will be on view until Jan. 10, offering a peaceful place of remembrance.
Marking a century since the First World War, contemporary Canadian artist Charles Pachter was approached by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to create a series of paintings about the “war to end all wars” and its legacy for Canadians.
While Pachter is well known for his playful approach to Canadian figures and landscapes, the series Lest We Forget is more contemplative. On large canvases, Pachter renders iconic objects and figures associated with the First World War including the enduring symbol of the poppy, a battleship with dazzle camouflage, a cortège of soldiers, and members of the Canadian Army Nursing Service.
Donated by the artist to the Art Gallery of Guelph in 2019, the works also speak to the history of Guelph as the birthplace of writer, physician, artist and soldier, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who would author the famous war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915, and is also featured in the paintings.
Speaking of his inspiration, Pachter says an excerpt from the famous poem kick-started the project:
‘We are the Dead. Short days ago / We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow / Loved and were loved, and now we lie / In Flanders fields,’
Shauna McCabe, director of the Art Gallery of Guelph, states, “We are pleased to be able to share these paintings with the community. Gifted to the gallery by the artist quite recently, the installation serves as a memorial exhibition, one that asks us to consider this history and how we continue to contribute to preserving this memory.”
Toronto-based artist Charles Pachter is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, historian, and lecturer. He will be giving a public talk on Nov. 10, at 7 pm.
Visit Eventbrite to register for this free Zoom event (https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/126454006337).
The gallery is open from noon to 5pm, Tuesdays through Sundays and until 8pm on Thursdays. Admission is free.
Lest We Forget is organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. For more information, visit artgalleryofguelph.ca.