The Centre for All Canadians

Kathleen Munn and Lowrie Warrener: The Logic of Nature, The Romance of Space

This exhibition presents the work of two pre-war pioneers of Canadian abstract painting.
Kathleen Munn, Untitled, 1926-8, oil on canvas, 37 x 60 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Kathleen Munn, Untitled, 1926-8, oil on canvas, 37 x 60 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

In a chapter of Bertram Brooker’s Yearbook of the Arts in Canada (1928/29) art critic Fred Housser commented on the artwork of Kathleen Munn and Lowrie Warrener, two modernist painters then exhibiting in O ntario. Both artists included abstraction in their art practice. Housser described the Toronto-based Munn as “probably the only painter in Canada whose canvases show an interest in cubism” then warned that the country had little public appreciation for “this kind of painting” and that she display her works elsewhere. The same sentiment did not apply to compositions produced by Sarnia, Ontario-born Lowrie Warrener. Housser described Warrener’s canvases and sketches, which demonstrated a vivid, Nabis-like sensibility, as exciting and popular.

The names of both painters faded into obscurity; however Kathleen Munn and Lowrie Warrener were two of the earliest artists in Canada to participate in modernist innovations in painting, specifically abstraction. This exhibition investigates the work of Munn and Warrener in relation to dominant artistic and philosophical movements of the time, such as the sense of nationalism promoted by the Group of Seven, with whom Munn and Warrener exhibited; the ‘cultural migration’ of modernism, primarily between the United States and Canada; and the public reception of their work in Canada.

Munn’s knowledge of art theory led her to re-interpret traditional subjects, such as figural work and pastoral scenes, into fractured, daring designs. Her spiritualism also inspired her greatest series exploring the Passion of Christ.

Lowrie Warrener’s imagery blended lyrical stylization and bright cloisonism with the wild Canadian landscape. Inspired by the search for a “national” art, Warrener also produced innovative stage designs and even wrote an avant-garde drama, “Symphony: a Painter’s Ballet” with dramatist Herman Voaden.

This project contextualizes Canadian modernism, and addresses renewed interest in early abstraction. The exhibition is accompanied by a colour, bilingual catalogue.

Curated by Cassandra Getty

Organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario. This project has been made possible in part through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage

Newsletter Signup

HOURS OF OPERATION 


Art Gallery

Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  July and August, open Thursdays until 8 p.m.


Box Office

Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Sunday 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sundays & Evening Performances: The Box Office opens 2.5 hours prior to each performance.

Please call 1.800.565.0278 or 902.566.1267 for information.

Mavor’s Restaurant

Monday – Wednesday 11a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11a.m. – 11p.m.
Sunday Closed

Please call 902.628.6107 for information.

Showcase Gift Shop

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6149 for information.

The Story of Confederation 

Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  | Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Toutes nos excuses. La version française de notre site Web est présentement en construction.

Hours of Operation


Art Gallery

Wednesday to Saturday 11a.m .-  5 p.m  |  Sunday 1p.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Monday and Tuesday Closed


Box Office

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Sundays & Evening Performances: The Box Office opens 2.5 hours prior to each performance. Please call 1.800.565.0278 or 902.566.1267 for information.

Mavor’s Restaurant

Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.  |  Friday – Saturday  11 a.m. – 11 p.m.  |  Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6107 for information.

Showcase Gift Shop

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |   Sunday Closed
Please call 902.628.6149 for information.

The Story of Confederation 

Open only on Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • I agree to receive further communications from Confederation Centre of the Arts for upcoming events, promotions and market research purposes.