The Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society (CPAG) is pleased to announce the opening of its interim home.
CPAG has taken over the lower level of the Green Door Building, located at 126 Ingram Street in downtown Duncan, and will open its doors on March 16th with a retrospective exhibition of the work of Maggie Hazell-Rosen.
Maggie was one of the first women to exhibit abstract expressionist art in both Vancouver and San Francisco. Her earliest exhibitions, to which she primarily contributed portraits, were in Vancouver in the mid-1940’s, but in 1953, after spending five years in San Francisco where she studied at both the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the California School of Fine Arts, she contributed several abstract works to the 9th group show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In the fall of 1954 she moved to Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, where she quickly joined its lively arts culture. She was the director of the 1956 Sausalito Art Festival, greatly expanding its scope and turning it into one of the Bay Area’s most important annual art festivals. For many years she was a regular participant in that festival and in the San Francisco Art Festival. She was also active in the San Francisco Women Artists, serving as secretary and then president.
Maggie’s work is distinctly feminine, with a warm colour palette and often displaying a strong sense of humour. It’s easy to recognize these qualities in the work that has been assembled for this retrospective exhibition, which is a very small sample of her total oeuvre. Most of the earliest works shown are abstract oil paintings on canvas or masonite; owning to her having developed an allergy to turpentine, her work after 1970 expanded to include acrylic paintings, etchings and other prints, and drawings, many of which include some watercolour or coloured pencil elements. She had a firm but relaxed line, which really drew out the personality of her subjects.
Maggie’s early influences include Clyfford Still, Hassel Smith and David Park, all of whom were at the California School of Fine arts in the late 1940’s. She was also a keen student of Spanish and Italian artists, and in particular of those artist’s drawings.
Maggie was born in Vancouver in 1919, and while she proudly retained her Canadian citizenship, she lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she died in 2010. Her father was the songwriter Charles Franklin Harrison, her sister the playwright Poppy McKenzie, and her grandmother the opera singer Marie Harrison, also known as Madame Yulisse.