Seven guitar makers to honour Group of Seven

McMichael Canadian Art Collection set to host upcoming exhibit this spring


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Linda Manzer's ‘Lawren Harris’ guitar (front and back)

Seven of the top guitar makers in Canada have each made a masterwork guitar paying homage to one of the members of Canada's most famous artist collectives – the Group of Seven.  The artists’ work is part of the Group of Seven Guitar Project, a new art exhibition, commissioned by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, in Kleinburg, Ont., set to open to the public on May 6.

Exhibition chief curator Dr. Sarah Stanners said the project was initiated in 2014 by her predecessor, Katerina Atanassova, but it was guitar maker Linda Manzer who first came up with the idea that there could possibly be an exhibition.

“[Manzer] was the one that really conceived the notion of a Group of Seven guitar makers, who are all Canadian, finding inspiration [in their design] from the [Group of Seven] painters.”

Manzer’s fellow guitar-making masters, Sergei de Jonge, Tony Duggan-Smith, David Wren, George Gray, William “Grit” Laskin and Jean Larrivée, are all on board with the project. 

Stanners said each guitar maker (also known as a luthier) loosely selected a Group of Seven artist to take inspiration from. It was later that the guitar makers realized they all have a natural connection to the member they have selected. 

“With George Gray, for example, he flies airplanes, he loves flight and so did [Group of Seven member] Frank Johnston,” said Stanners. 

The guitars will be suspended in a display case, as this will allow exhibit-goers to see both the front and the back of the instrument art piece. In addition, a full-feature documentary film on the making of each guitar will be shown. 

In the meantime, Stanners recommends the McMichael’s Size Matters exhibit, set to open on March 11. The show brings together the work of painter Steve Driscoll, who creates big beautiful pieces of art, and photographer Finn O’ Hara.

“[Driscoll and O’Hara] brought the paintings out [and photographed them] in completely absurd circumstances in the midst of everyday life,” Stanners said.

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Kristina Kirkaldy is a news editor at Post City Magazines. Kristina graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber with a degree in journalism.

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