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Where the Universe Sings is a bit slow in form, method

Ben Low as Lawren Harris painting Mount Lefroy.

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris
Directed by
Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont
Classification
G
Country
Canada
Language
English
Year
2016

Art is a bridge between the great moral harmony of the universe and our own souls." That remark by Lawren Harris tells you a lot about his quest for an ideal painting that could present universal harmony to the eye. This biography of the Group of Seven artist draws attention to his pivotal encounters with European landscape painting, his conversion to Theosophy and his resolution to fuse an art of "exaltation" with a national form of Canadian painting. The film's archival clips are salted with perceptive comments by several experts, as well as readings from the letters and diaries of Harris and his painting buddy A.Y. Jackson. Many Harris paintings are shown, including the pared-down works from a 1920s tour of the Rocky Mountains and the less popular abstracts of his later years. The film is a bit plodding in form and method, however, and isn't helped by having a look-alike actor pretend to paint Harris's canvases. (G) – Robert Everett-Green

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