Doris McCarthy: New Light

Doris McCarthy, Early Spring, Fool’s Paradise, 1974. Oil on panel, 47.6 x 57.8 cm. Collection of the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough. Gift of Wendy and Dwain Wacko, 2022.

Doris McCarthy
New Light

Curated by Carly Wolowich
May 11 – July 7, 2024
Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough

New Light focuses on the life and work of the late, Scarborough-based artist and writer Doris McCarthy (1910–2010). Uniting artwork and archival material, the exhibition will laud McCarthy’s artistic capabilities and assert the enduring relevance of her work.

The exhibition provides insights into McCarthy’s beloved relationship to Fool’s Paradise, her home on the Scarborough Bluffs. From there, the journey expands to McCarthy’s travels across Canada and to destinations as far as New Zealand and China. Central here is McCarthy’s emotive and eminently humanistic approach to capturing place, over time. McCarthy’s curiosity and dedication to learning are revealed through glimpses into her studio process where she experimented with new styles and techniques. Throughout her career of more than 80 years, McCarthy ardently shared her wonder in the world, and was steadfastly committed to rendering it in a new light.

New Light is part of the Doris McCarthy Gallery’s 20th anniversary programming, a celebration of the gallery’s two decades of exhibitions, programs, and community-building in Scarborough.

Doris McCarthy, Ethel Curry, Noreen (Nory) Masters, in front of their studio in Gaspé, August 1934. Courtesy of the Doris McCarthy Fonds, Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough.

Reception and Public Programs

All programming is free. For in-person programs, please see the DMG website for visitor information. Please contact with any accommodation needs.

Public Reception
Saturday, May 11, 2 – 5 pm

Join us to celebrate the opening of New Light and recognize a significant recent donation of Doris McCarthy’s works. The afternoon will include formal remarks at 3 pm. Light refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be offered. All are welcome.

Nature Poetry Walk: A Palimpsest of Place
Led by Sheniz Janmohamed
Saturday, June 1, 2 – 3:30 pm
Registration required, spaces limited

In this observational poetry nature walk in the Highland Creek Valley, along the Ma Moosh Ka Win Trail, participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their relationship to place. What are the landscapes and elements that have offered us inspiration, expansion, and grounding? How can we stand in an overly familiar place and see it through a new light? What does the terrain of our hearts look like? These questions will be explored through gentle sensory prompts throughout the trail, where participants will have the opportunity to document their experiences and observations through journaling. The walk will culminate in the creation of nature-art representing participants’ own “compasses” of place. No writing experience required. Participants are welcome to sketch and draw in addition to writing.

Curatorial Tour by Carly Wolowich
Tuesday, June 4, 1 – 2 pm

Curator Carly Wolowich will lead a free, drop-in exhibition tour of New Light, speaking about Doris McCarthy’s works and process, her relationship to Scarborough, and the role of placemaking in her practice. Part of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series, co-presented by the Studio program, Department of Arts, Culture & Media, U of T Scarborough.

Fool’s Paradise Field Trip
Saturday, June 15, 1 – 4:30 pm
Registration required, spaces limited

Presented in collaboration with Ontario Heritage Trust, this program offers the opportunity to learn more about and visit Fool’s Paradise, Doris McCarthy’s former home and studio located atop the Scarborough Bluffs. Starting at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, curator Carly Wolowich will lead an exhibition tour of Doris McCarthy: New Light, with a particular focus on how Fool’s Paradise, and Scarborough more broadly, has been represented in McCarthy’s works. A free shuttle bus will then depart to Fool’s Paradise itself, where Ontario Heritage Trust’s Erin Mander will lead a tour of the home and property, speaking about its history, from when McCarthy purchased the land in 1939 to its current use as an artist residency.

New Light Educator-in-Residence

The Doris McCarthy Gallery Educator-in-Residence Program provides an emerging arts professional with mentorship and resources in order to research, plan, and implement a schedule of programs and outreach for specific exhibitions and audiences. Residents use their own creative practices to engage with art and audiences in new and innovative ways.

As the Educator-in-Residence for New Light, artist Myuri Srikugan will spend the next three months responding to the exhibition through the lens of her practice. During the residency, she will focus on community-based programming that brings a contemporary perspective to work inspired by, and about Scarborough – a place both she and Doris McCarthy call(ed) home – to connect a new generation of Scarborough artists and creatives to McCarthy’s work and legacy. We’ll announce the outcomes as they develop – stay tuned!

Doris McCarthy, 401 at 4:01, 1992. Watercolour on paper, 47 x 56.5 cm. Collection of the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough. Gift of Wendy and Dwain Wacko, 2022.

Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11 am to 4 pm; Wednesday, 11 am to 7 pm; Saturday, 11 to 5 pm. Admission is free. Open to the public. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

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Image descriptions:
1) Painting of a white house surrounded by lawn and bare-limbed trees, with a lake in the background and garden in the foreground. Wood and a wheel barrow on the grass out front.
2) In a sepia-toned photograph, three women stand together in front of a wooden cabin. On the exterior wall behind them is a handmade sign reading “The Studio” featuring a drawing of the same three women.
3) Painting of cars on a highway at night, rendered with a strong one-point perspective, with movement created through brushstrokes.