Lismer got it right. There is La Cloche, and then there is the rest of the world

Jon Butler opens his exhibition of photographs, on display in the RBC Tower on Bay Street. Part of Contact Festival.
Jon Butler uses his camera to have a Group of Seven moment in God's Country
La Cloche Spirit: The Equivalent Light, opens in Toronto. Part of Contact Festival

 Jon Butler at one time was an integral part of the Thomson News Corporation. Publisher. Newspaper Executive.  Nowadays, he lets others write the news, while he pursues beauty with his camera in Northern Ontario.
 On Monday evening Butler opened an exhibition of photographs he took in the La Cloche region of Georgian Bay.  The show launch was held in the lobby of the  Royal Bank's Bay Street Tower as part of the month long Contact Photography Festival.  Three Ontario and Federal cabinet ministers, a over 50-art lovers attended the opening sponsored by Vale's Base Metals, a Toronto based mining company.
The La Cloche area, known for the beauty of its quartzite mountains, crystal clear lakes,  and abundant wildlife, is located in Northern Ontario on the north shore of Georgian Bay near  the Killarney Park (east) and the town of Spanish (west). Butler lives in Willisville, located in the heart of La Cloche.
Art writer/expert Tom Smart (right) with Jon Butler
This area was recently saved from the possibility of any future mining.  In 2011, the sponsor of the evening's launch, Vale,  surrendered the license for the district so it may be enjoyed for generations to come. Butler was instrumental in saving the Mountain and establishing the La Cloche Mountains Preservation Society.
"La Cloche Spirit is a photographic exhibition that explores the light of dawn and how it evokes an inspirational space and translates the timeless beauty of nature," said Butler at the Contact event. "After the practice of Stieglitz, an “equivalent” photograph functions as a work of art because it both communicates subject matter and suggests mental states."
The retired newspaper man is now a Zen practitioner and has, as he writes, "changed his clothes to enjoy the passing seasons of life." He says that he has been capturing and enjoying the light of La Cloche for more than 30 years. He concentrates on solitary, contemplative landscapes and atmospheric effects with his natural light photographs. They reflect years of meditation on the subject matter and draw viewers into the light of La Cloche.
Butler isn't the first artist to be inspired by La Cloche. Group of Seven painter, Arthur Lismer visited Georgian Bay for the first time in September of 1913.  It is recorded that he was dumbstruck by the impact of the landscape.

video by associate George Socka

His paintings of La Cloche established a unique style of of seeing the pools, rocks, crags and trees that  have made his work so distinct. While a guest of Dr. James MacCallum ( an early patron of the Group) at his Georgian Bay, Lismer began a life-long love affair with Georgian Bay and La Cloche, and would return there to work throughout his life. 
Butler’s exhibit ‘La Cloche Spirit: The Equivalent Light’ will be up at 200 Bay St., South Tower Lobby, Royal Bank Plaza to Saturday, May 26 and at The Gore Bay Museum Heritage Centre from June 10 to August 6.


Paul Gauthier said…
A great exhibit of your talent in capturing the mood of La Cloche....and your conservation of the area through your photos and dialogue with others. Congrats,Jon

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