Gordon Rayner (1935-2010) is best known for his physically immediate approach to painting and lavish use of colour. Part of the Isaacs Gallery stable of artists which included Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, Dennis Burton, Richard Gorman, John Meredith and Robert Markle, Rayner took a particular interest in American colour field painting, in particular de Kooning.
Gordon Rayner was born and died in Toronto, a city he loved, but also loved to wander from. He travelled the world and also spent much time in the Ontario bush country, whose mysteries inspired much of his work.
“Mnemonica,” his essay for the 1979 retrospective, is an engrossing personal history and reflection on his early artistic influences and methods of working.
However, Rayner painted vigorously for another three decades, moving from abstract to figurative works, from oil to acrylic and back to oil again, exploring many subjects and ending up with a series of lucid, unsparing self-portraits.
While he was criticized by some for being always unpredictable, he had many ideas and too much curiosity to rest in one place. He loved the work of Morandi, who timelessly repainted the same bottles and jars, with mere variations of configuration, but such was not Rayner’s way. It was important to step into the unknown. “What matters, but risk,” he would say.
He liked to work in series, such as his “constructed paintings,” birds-and-bush paintings of the 80’s, the fantastical Oaxaca Suite and related paintings of Mexico, the portraits of artists and the final self-portraits.
January 29 - April 10 - 2021
“Chroma III” – January 30 – April 10, 2021 For the past two years we have curated exhibitions deep in the winter months that feature colour. This year, colour has been deeply needed. In response to the white falling snow outside, we have curated an exhibition that celebrates, compares and contrasts the quality of […]
March 6 - March 28 - 2020
“Environmental Land” – March 6 – 28, 2020 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are open by appointment only. Please call 519.857.4505 or email email@example.com to make an appointment to see the exhibition. Our March exhibition explores diverse representations of the environment, land and nature. Not all of the artists are characterized as “landscape […]
January 14 - February 29 - 2020
“Chroma II” January 14 – February 29, 2020 Our winter group exhibition features paintings that are saturated with glorious colour. Artists included are Jack Bush, Mark Dicey, Jonathan Forrest, James Kirkpatrick, Ron Martin, William Perehudoff, Gordon Rayner, Jonathan Syme, David Urban and Hans Wendt. Chroma is the quality of a colour’s purity, intensity or saturation. […]