Thursday October 2nd 2014, I attended the Alumni Exhibition in the Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts, at Mount Allison University. I was humbled, honoured, and very grateful to be a part of this wonderful Alumni group of artists dating back from 1950 through 2012.
During the presentation those attending gathered in the Motyer-Fancy Theatre, to listen to the noted speakers. Prior to this, while sitting next to my painting professor Chris Down, whom I greatly admire for his painting prowess, his intellect, and his ability to connect with students, we got to talking, and I told him about the AGO having the Alex Colville Exhibition of 110 paintings. My professor told me his friend Andrew Hunter, curated this show, and he stated how capable he was, in understanding the existing art norms within the art world. I was excited to learn that the Alex Colville exhibit was happening, and so wished I'd had the opportunity to see it.
After the presentations, I sought out a former student of Alex Colville's and participant in the Almuni Exhibit, Tom Forrestall. I was anxious to tell him, he was the reason, and inspiration I took up painting with the medium of egg tempera, after seeing his retrospective at the Owens Gallery, that took my breath away. He told me how Alex Colville had taught him how to use egg tempera.
I relayed the fact that there was no one at Mount Allison University Fine Art Department, that taught this traditional painting medium while I was studying. He said, he was not surprised, and I said, I was however very fortunate, to have had a gifted painting professor who lent me a great book, The Craftsman's Handbook by Cennino D'Andrea Cennin, that provided me with some very practical instruction, which I found very helpful, though I mostly learned by painting.
Tom and I talked about the recent Alex Colville's AGO exhibition, and he mentioned the unfavourable review, by the Globe and Mail of this show, which I found online today. Truthfully it stupefies my mind why there are those, like the individual who wrote this review, seem intent on Colville bashing. I don't get it. That said, and to focus on the positive, there were very insightful comments in response to this review, reflecting the high regard, love, appreciation, great admiration, and respect Canadians have for Alex Colville, and see him as much more than being an 'original' Canadian artist. I believe Alex Colville set the bar for a generation of aspiring artists, and I am one of them.
I know there is no need to explain or complain about James Adams review in the Globe & Mail, because Alex Colville, the great Canadian and artist that he was, will always be an artist of " deep relevance and significance. "
I hope this exhibit will travel, and most of all in the near future, will come to the Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts.
“Colville’s work was deceptively simple,” he says. “There’s what you see on the surface, but you can so easily go deeper. He wasn’t controlling about that. He wanted you to come to the work and take it where you want to go.” -Andrew Hunter