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Casson Landscape Analysis

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One could suggest many of the buildings and villages Casson painted represent people’s encroachment on the landscape. Or, one could also suggest, Casson was capturing the rural village life on the edge of Toronto’s city life. By 1930’s Casson was turning away from painting “wilderness” and “landscape” paintings that were empty of the human presence. He was returning to his interest in capturing intriguing architecture and the play of light and shadow using the structural elements of buildings. Casson’s preoccupation with rural architecture began in 1917, with a watercolour of the Old Mill in Toronto’s Humber River. Ontario. Increasingly, Casson found himself painting more and more houses and villages around Toronto. Eventually, adopting the…show more content…
Duval indicated Casson’s major works shared the depiction of warmth from mellow colours of golden ochres, sienna’s, venetian reds, and olive greens (p. 85). Casson later added a solitary figure (or two) in his work as a device to represent the human accent to his compositions. Such single figure accents appear in many of his major canvases… (Duval, p. 85). The Old Mill Elora lacks the figure(s) but does have the element of human presence. Gazing at this painting, I find myself trying to see into the windows that Casson almost carelessly depicts, looking for a glimpse of human life. One can only speculate what lays behind the Elora mill’s walls. Every moment I spend gazing at this painting I am transported back in time when sawmills formulated a major contribution to industrial employment for rural villages. I grew up in a small village in Eastern Townships of Quebec that included two small sawmills both providing major employment for our village of Bury, Quebec. Casson has depicted other mills in paintings besides Old Mill Elora, thus I can assume mills hold an important significance. In reference to the Old Mill Elora, it is not only a depiction of industrialization, this painting also exhibits evidence of nature’s deconstruction from wilderness to the composition of architectural structures. Further research on Casson and The Group of…show more content…
Web, The Canadian Encyclopedia). The Old Mill Elora was painted after the start of the depression. This was during the time Sampson-Matthews had very little design work on the books so to speak, which meant Casson could devote time working on his paintings. However, when the World War II began, communications and war propaganda provided a prolific amount of commercial work that kept Casson busy and left little time for his artistic endeavors. As the end of the war was approaching, Casson’s style of painting took a radical shift in
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