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Literatus with Vessel, 1989

Will Gorlitz
Canadian, 1952
oil on canvas
201 x 267 cm
Gift of the artist, Guelph, Ontario, 2012
National Gallery of Canada (no. 45762)

Will Gorlitz's paintings habitually and deliberately challenge straightforward viewing. This diptych of a plum tree in bloom was recorded at the Arboretum at the University of Guelph, a location of interest to the artist as it is neither a wild, nor strictly cultivated landscape. Carefully rendering light and shadow and the many lush floral details of the setting, Gorlitz places his landscape in a corner as a nod to nineteenth-century dioramas that engulfed viewers in a depiction of the Real. In this case, however, the noticeable gap between the two panels disrupts the realism of the scene, highlighting one of the basic conventions of painting: the flatness of the picture plane.

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