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Ronald BLOORE (1925-2009)


October 20 - November 9, 2016

Wallace Galleries is one of Calgary’s most dynamic art galleries and home to many outstanding contemporary Canadian artists. Established in 1986 and located in the downtown core, our gallery is a family-run business with the goal of making art a part of your life as much as it is a part of ours.

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“White paintings represent freedom for the viewer.” “They’re all untitled. Why restrict your imagination?” -Ron Bloore

Image: Double Sun (Small), 1960, oil on hardboard , 24” x 48”

“From 1958 to 2007 Ron Bloore dedicated his life to painting. In his secondary career as a gallery director, educator and commentator he fought for the understanding of artists as integral to civilized communities. Inspired by primitive art and ancient Egypt, Bloore painted about human experience in a way that is profound yet immediately accessible to anyone and everyone.” Preferring to leave his work untitled, Ron refuses to discuss the meaning or content of his art. He strongly believes this engages the viewer with the piece in an unrestricted way creating experience, feeling and meaning through personal perception.1 Image (right): Untitled (#980812), 1998, oil on hardboard, 36” x 48”


A Brief History on BLOORE

Born in Brampton, Ontario, Bloore received a B.A. in art and archaeology from the University of Toronto in 1949. From 1949 to 1951, he studied art history and archaeology at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts. In 1953, he received a M.A. in art and archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis. From 1951 to 1954, he was also an Instructor in art and archaeology at Washington University. From 1955 to 1957, he studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. After completing his studies at the University of London, Bloore returned to Canada, and held a position as an instructor in art and archaeology at the University of Toronto from 1957 to 1958. Moving to Regina, Saskatchewan, he was an instructor in art and archaeology at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan from 1958 to 1966. Settling back in Toronto, he was a Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Fine Arts at York University from 1966 to 1990. In 1993, Bloore was made a Member of the Order of Canada for being a “most accomplished abstract painter and educator, he has strongly influenced visual arts, particularly in Western Canada”. In 2007, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Previous pages, left: Untitled (#911224), 1991, oil on hardboard, 48” x 48” Previous pages, right: Untitled (#930210), 1993, oil on hardboard, 48” x 48”

In 1993, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from York University and in 2001 an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Regina.2 2

“Despite the austere geometric appearance of these works, the artist is a highly visual and lyrical painter. The elementary marks of the geometry retain an immediate expressiveness; the relaxed asymmetry and optimistic acceptance of accidental gestures reflect the artist’s subjective presence. We also witness a calm humour in these pictures as stable patterns are fractured to create illogical and dynamic designs...

The works construct alter-like bas-reliefs in paint... The open-ended geometry of the paintings is a web to ensnare our thoughts. In the autonomy of the works, Bloore exiles connoisseurship; he stresses literal painting, and quells false literary, psychic interpretations. He prompts us to relax speculation about the meaning... to admit response from the distant reaches of the psyche.”3

Image (previous page; detail & right): Untitled (#712384), 1971 , oil on hardboard, 96” x 43” Ted Fraser in his catalogue for Bloore: Sixteen Years, 1975. cf:Heath on Fraser


Image: Untitled (#790036), 1979 oil on hardboard 36” x 48”

Image: Untitled (#790516), 1979 oil on hardboard 36” x 48”

Bloore took a years leave from teaching in 1962 to go to Greece and Egypt which was a revalation for him. Here were powerful images, simplified, sophisticated, of extraordinary quality in constructionenduring. Here was the work of artists who had created images which expressed their culture, land and society for their society. ...Here were examples of art in which the the artists had evolved that powerful visual language Kadinsky dreamed of for Europe.

Bloore returned to Regina in 1963 with a newfound freedom. He felt the need to return to “ground zero”; continuing in the white-on-white paintings. He turned to much stronger image-making, investigating recurring patterns and iconic forms...”4 images (previous page): Untitled (#750918, Byzantine Light Series), 1975, oil on hardboard, 21” x 30” (above): Untitled (#751216, Byzantine Light Series), 1975, oil on hardboard, 21” x 30” “Ronald Bloore: Not Without Design” by Terrance Heath. Mackenzie Art Gallery, 1993, p.29


“Many contemporary painters have made pilgrimages to ancient archaeological architectural sites. None comes more immediately to mind than the Canadian Ronald Bloore, whose paintings are perhaps more profoundly affected by his experience of prehistoric and early art than any other twentieth century abstractionist. Egyptian and Greek reliefs, the architecture and the decorative arts of the Byzantine and of Islam, the prehistoric carving of the Inuit have been for him an inspiration not restricted to formal considerations but including recognition of the spiritual content of those early mythologies and sacred works that communicate across the centuries.”5

5; Joan M. Vastokas in The Roots of Abstraction: An Introduction; ArtsCanada, May/June 1979.

Image: Untitled (#833236), 1983, oil on hardboard, 36” x 48”

Image: Untitled (#832136), 1983, oil on hardboard, 36” x 48”

Image (top): Untitled (#800111), 1980, mixed media on paper, 18” x 24” (bottom): Untitled (#800112), 1980, mixed media on paper, 18” x 24”

Image (above): Untitled (#980812), 1998, oil on hardboard, 36” x 48”

“[With major paintings,] the painting is totally preconceived and it’s really a technical problem to finish it... It’s a hell of a lot of work. It really is. I try to persuade people that painting is about 90% boredom. It’s five percent fun at the beginning and then it’s just a procedure of trying to complete the work. The last five percent is seeing how close you can get to the initial idea that you had before you say to hell with it, let’s get on to the next one. [But with inkworks,] they are the total opposite of the paintings. The paintings are preconceived, the drawings [after ‘79] are all automatic. I do them as fast as possible. It probably takes about an hour and a half to complete one. It’s a problem of trying to put something down very, very quickly, without preconception... you have to have [a] sense of experimentation. Then you hone it down... I remove all the tape and take a look at it for five seconds and decide yes or no. There’s no correction. There’s no change. There’s nothing. If I don’t like it I rip it up.”6

6; ibid Image:

Image: Untitled (#800527), 1980, ink on paper, 14” x 20”

Image: Untitled (#800527), 1980, ink on paper, 14” x 20”

Image: Untitled (#CSS82-2), 1982 charcoal on paper 18” x 24”

Image: Untitled (#940418), 1994 ink on paper 22” x 30”

Image: Untitled (#950503), 1995 ink on paper 22” x 30”

Image: Untitled (#790023), ca.1979 oil on hardboard 24” x 36”

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director: Heidi Hubner designer: Colette Hubner

OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2-5 PM Presentation by Hank Roest at 11AM preview: Thursday, October 20, 2016


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Bloore: UNTITLED e-catalogue 2016