Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris

Poster for Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris

“I’m searching for the summit of my soul, up there, where the universe sings.” (Lawren Harris)

Co-founder and leader of the legendary Group of Seven, Lawren Harris has become the most valued artist in Canadian history. His canvasses routinely sell at auction for several million dollars.

Who was this curious man, raised in a family of wealth and privilege, whose notebook doodlings compelled a professor to suggest he try art studies in Europe? Why was Harris so determined to battle the critics and paint a radical new vision of Canada with bold brush strokes and brilliant colours? And what led this driven man to the spiritual realm of stylized abstraction?

Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris is an intimate portrait of Canada’s most renowned artist and the most comprehensive film on Harris to date. It features over 130 of his paintings, dozens of previously un-seen photographs and 8mm family films, plus works by those who influenced him, including Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Emily Carr and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The film also features rare archival footage (some of which was shot by Harris himself) and interviews with the top Harris experts including actor/comedian Steve Martin, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Andrew Hunter, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Ian Thom, curator and former Globe art critic Sarah Milroy, biographer Peter Larisey, author Dennis Reid, curator Roald Nasgaard, collector Ash Prakash, author Lisa Christensen of Heffels and Harris’ grandchildren Stew Sheppard and Toni Chowne. It was directed and produced by Nancy Lang (writer/producer Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven) and Peter Raymont (West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson, Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould) and is based, in part, on Inward Journey: The Life of Lawren Harris, by James King.

“Doc fulfills its promise when Lawren Harris’ words wash over us as the camera lingers on his art. In these moments, the spiritual journey promised in the title comes alive.” (Johanna Schneller, Toronto Star)

“Revelatory . . . The filmmakers gained insight into Harris’ process.” (Laurent La Rose, The Canadian Press)