Born in Ottawa, 1926 – 2006
Margaret Alexandra Luke was born in Montreal. Luke's development as a pioneering abstract painter was considerably delayed by family responsibilities. Trained as a nurse in Washington, DC, by 1930 she had become a wife, a widow, the mother of a son, a wife again (to Clarence Ewart McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Carriage Company family), and mother of a daughter.
Largely self-taught at first, her early works were relatively conventional paintings reflecting an interest in the Group of Seven. In 1944 painter Caven Atkins advised her to move beyond their influence. Luke's first formal training was at the Banff School of Fine Arts (1945), where her instructors included Jock MacDonald, who probably introduced her to automatism and the writings of Petr Ouspensky. Later she became intensely involved with the work of Ouspensky's teacher, Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff.
Encouraged by the Canadian artist Joseph Plaskett, Luke studied with the German-American painter/teacher, Hans Hofmann, in Provincetown, Rhode Island, at various times from 1947 through 1954. Hofmann provided theory of the medium and confirmed for her that art is a positive force with spiritual value. In turn, Luke encouraged Macdonald and William Ronald to study with Hofmann.
In 1947, Luke began doing "automatic" paintings and was included in the Canadian Women Artists exhibition at the Riverside Museum in New York. She did not have her first commercial-gallery solo show (at Douglas Duncan's Picture Loan Society) until 1952, the year she organized the ground-breaking Canadian Abstract Exhibition. Luke was in the Abstracts at Home exhibition (1953) at Simpsons department store that led to the creation of Painters Eleven, organized at her summer home at Thickson's Point, Ont. She regularly exhibited with them in Montreal, New York and elsewhere until the group dissolved in 1960.
Luke's best works (such as Yellow Space, 1961), exemplify her aim to use colour intuitively, to make painting a "universal language", an art "as pure...as music" that would "continue searching forever".
Suggested Reading: Jennifer Watson, Alexandra Luke: A Tribute (1977); Joan Murray, Alexandra Luke: Continued Searching (1987); Margaret Rodgers, Locating Alexandra (1995).
Author: Ken Carpenter
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|Margaret Alexandra Luke is a renowned Canadian abstract painter, born in Montreal.|
|La Parete Gallery Fine Art Gallery - Toronto - Canada La Parete Gallery is recognized for its selection of Fine Art: Canadian Art - Native Art - Inuit Art - First Nations Art - International Art|
|Artists: Antonio, Ann Beam, Carl Beam, Molly Lamb Bobak, David Bolduc, Miller Brittain, Christopher Broadhurst,
Israel Broytman, A.J. Casson, Antonio Cardarelli, J. Cardinal-Schubert, Konrad Cramer, Pal Fried, Richard Gorman, Giovanni Guarlotti,
Tom Hodgson, Gershon Iskowitz, Jean-Paul Jérôme, Lee L'Clerc, Maud Lewis, Kenneth Lochhead, Alexandra Luke
René Marcil, Norval Morrisseau, Louis Muhlstock, Louis de Niverville,
William Ogilvie, Frère Jérôme Paradis, William Ronald, Rolph Scarlett, Gerald Scott, Michael J. Seward, Arthur Shilling,
Roland Strasser, Peter Taçon, Harold Town, Jesus Carlos de Vilallonga, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ruben Zellermayer