We would like to acknowledge that the land on which these paintings were inspired by and completed on is Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory and the traditional territory of the Cree and Saulteaux, Assiniboine and Métis.
Over the last seven years, Greg Hardy has made dedicated trips to Grasslands National Park and the South Saskatchewan River Valley. He visited these iconic landscapes recently in September 2022 and was struck by the profound silence and exquisite quality of light. He hiked and camped across the plains, stopping to sketch from different points along the way.
Hardy is widely known for painting in a gestural style with an intuitive approach. He begins his process by revisiting his en plein air drawings at his studio, using them to trigger his memory about how the landscape felt, rather than trying to accurately depict the specific colours and features of a landscape. The title of the exhibition, Hymns from the Plains, reflects Hardy’s deep spiritual connection with the natural world.
Also included in the exhibition are new works from Hardy’s ongoing series, Lac La Ronge, where he has a cabin in Northern Saskatchewan. The dominant prairie skies filled with his characteristically voluminous clouds are present in both series, but the low vantage point Hardy favours on the water in his canoe or kayak, is specific to the La Ronge paintings.
Over the years, I have made numerous trips to Grasslands National Park. The landscape is rich in colour, space and light. The area encompasses river valleys, grasslands and badlands which offer vast wilderness areas of breathtaking beauty. The landscape in the grasslands can be both dramatic and sublime, depending on weather and time of year. The feature that resonates with me the most is a sense of rhythm in the grass and hills and the spaces between the formations in the badlands, and a profound sense of space and quietness. It is an arid region of wide-open spaces, much the same as it has been for hundreds of years, rich in history and archeological significance.
– Greg Hardy