– Doreen Lindsay, 1996
Born in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Doreen Lindsay grew up in London, Ontario. While still in elementary school, she began attending Saturday morning art classes at the London Public Art Museum. While attending Sir Adam Beck Collegiate Institute, Lindsay became the Students’ Council president as well as an after-school-hours’ helper at the Southeast (now Crouch) branch of the London Public Library. She became known as the “poster girl” at the library after being discovered to have a talent for poster design. Later, Lindsay attended H.B. Beal Technical School where she won an international poster contest sponsored by the Latham Foundation. Lindsay moved from poster design to murals when she was allowed to paint a stretch of wall above the bookshelves in the children’s section of the Southeast (now Crouch) branch. Her mural showcased imagery relating to the topics and subjects referenced in the children’s books. In 1955, Lindsay was awarded a scholarship to study painting at the Instituto Allende in Mexico. Upon her return to Canada in 1958, Lindsay began teaching summer art classes for children and teenagers sponsored by the London Public Utilities Commission. The classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, and some occasional art history were taught in various centres around London including Gibbons Park, London Junior High School, Oakridge playgrounds, and Northview Public School.
In 1960, Lindsay moved to Montreal and continued to paint and began teaching. In 1969, she was one of the first artists to receive the degree of Masters in Art Education from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University). She regularly taught at Trafalgar School, the Art School of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, and Collège Marie-Victorin. Lindsay is self-taught in photographic processes and has presented numerous workshops and lectures in Canada and Europe on alternative photographic processes such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, and photo-etching.
Since 1970, Lindsay has lived in Westmount, Québec where she has volunteered with the Westmount Historical Association (WHA) since 1995 as director, researcher, newspaper editor, and coordinator of the lecture series.
Lindsay also curated exhibitions for the School of Fine Arts, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal from 1994 to 1999.
Lindsay is an accomplished printmaker, painter, and photographer. Beginning around 1985, she combined her knowledge of painting and photography with a long-time interest in the natural world to make hand-coloured black-and-white photographs of the indigenous plants of places in which she has lived and travelled. She has exhibited in Canada and Europe and her works are included in various collections across Canada.
The following was written by Louise Abbott, 1996:
For Doreen Lindsay, photographing nature is an act of meditation as well as a plea for conservation. During recent travels to the coast of California, she would wander along a rocky shoreline or hike through an old-growth forest until she found a site that she felt was imbued with a strong spiritual presence. Then she would sit or walk around quietly for awhile. “I need to experience a place before I can photograph it,” she says, “and I always look for indigenous plants.”
Once Lindsay felt ready to photograph, she would often kneel or lie on the ground in order to be level with her subject. She composed carefully with her old square-format camera, balancing dark and light forms and throwing parts of her subject into soft focus. Upon her return home, she made archival black-and-white prints and then used a traditional technique to hand-colour them with transparent oil colours.
The resulting images reflect the intimacy of her contact with nature and reveal beauty and meaning in the humble elements so many of us overlook – a tangle of trees, a rock with a deep fissure running through it, grasses sculpted by the wind into a wave.
Although Lindsay concentrated on close-ups and medium-distance views of nature, she did not exclude the human presence altogether. “Every place I go, I make one photograph with my shadow in it,” she explains. “I feel strongly about the philosophy of living with the land instead of exploiting it. We need to learn to be in wild places and co-exist with them.”
Biography by Victoria Stopar
Crawford, Lenore, “‘Freedom’ Is Keyword of Park Art Classes,”
The London Free Press, August 18, 1962.
Doreen Lindsay: L’experience de la nature 18 octobre au 29 novembre 1996. Curated by Robert Hebert. Cote Saint-Luc Public Library, Cavendish, Cote Sait-Luc. Exhibition catalogue.
“Fame Sometimes Fleeting, City Artist Finds,” The London Free Press, May 17, 1957.
“Former City Students Win Art Scholarships,” The London Free Press, November 24, 1956.
Hould, Claudette. Répertoire des livres d’artistes au Québec. Montréal: Bibiothèque Nationale du Québec, 1993.
MacDonald, Colin S. A Dictionary of Canadian Artists. 3rd ed. I, (J-L). Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd. 1977.
Daigneault, Gilles and Ginette Deslauriers. La Gravure au Québec (1940-1980). Heritage+plus. Saint-Lambert, Québec. : Editions Héritage, 1981. p.175-178.
Gaboury, Michel. ETC Montréal Revue de l’art Actuel Printemps, 1989. p. 56-57.
Gagnon, Paulett, et al. Les Vingt Ans du Musée: A Travers Sa Collection. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 1985. p.182-183.
Doreen Lindsay (Doreen Lindsay – photographie et peinture)
Video: UMA, La Maison de l’image et de la photographie
CV Courtesy of Doreen Lindsay
Click here for information about works by Doreen Lindsay
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection.