Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists - AN EXHIBITION

Saskatchewan and the Visual Arts
Emma Lake Professional Artists' Workshops

"There is no question that the artists' seminars at Emma Lake have caused the most important upsurge of creative work in those who participated. The intimate contact with contemporary New York artists of first rank, and especially with the eminent art critic Clement Greenberg has been simply invaluable to all of us who took part in these seminars" I for one am deeply grateful for this "window" to the larger contemporary art world."
Ernest Lindner, Saskatoon artist who attended all workshops except 1959.

Kenneth Lochhead inside the Emma Lake Artists' Workshop studio, ca. 1961. [33]

Sculpture of Clement Greenberg, Emma Lake Workshop instructor and renowned New York Art Critic, by Joe Fafard. [34]

Roy Kiyooka (workshop instructor), Jack Shadbolt (first workshop instructor), Ken Lochhead, Doug Morton, and Ron Bloore on an impromptu return trip to Emma Lake, ca. 1989. [35]

In a 1963 survey article on prairie art, the renowned New York art critic and instructor for the 1962 Emma Lake workshop, Clement Greenberg observed that: "The vitality of art in Regina does constitute an unusual phenomenon. It may involve, immediately, only a small group of artists, but five such fired-up artists would amount to a lot in New York, let alone a city of 125,000."

Key to the Saskatchewan renaissance at this time were the Emma Lake Professional Workshops run by the Regina Arts College of the University of Saskatchewan from 1955 to 1973. In 1955, at the suggestion of Director Kenneth Lochhead, the University established a yearly two-week summer workshop for professional artists that followed the Summer Art School at Emma Lake.

Taught by a series of well-known modern artists and art critics from Canada and New York such as artists Jack Shadbolt, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski, and renowned art critic Clement Greenberg, the Emma Lake Workshops gained an international reputation. Attended by students from across North America and Europe, the workshops had a profound impact on those Saskatchewan artists who attended. Among the most influenced of the local artists were the acclaimed Regina Five painters, and sculptors Vic Cicansky and Joe Fafard. The "Regina Five", Doug Morton, Ted Godwin, Ron Bloore, Arthur McKay, and Ken Lochhead, gained national attention when featured in a 1961 National Gallery exhibition entitled "Five Painters from Regina."


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