Our September exhibition includes Greg Curnoe, Murray Favro and Ron Martin paired with James Kirkpatrick, Jason McLean and Billy Bert Young. All six artists came of age as artists in London, Ontario and studied at HB Beal. Curnoe, Favro and Martin were part of the London Regionalist Canadian art movement that developed in the 1960s. Kirkpatrick, McLean and Young, emerged as artists directly influenced by Regionalism. Through this exhibition we celebrate the diverse artistic output from these artists and highlight direct influences.
We are exhibiting a new hand-made chain-less bicycle by Murray Favro, Ron Martin’s important 1972 “Early One Colour Painting” and a 1990 stamp-pad-ink work by Greg Curnoe that contemplates contemporary art criticism.
Our exhibition also includes a new drawing by Jason McLean that maps the history of baseball, James Kirkpatrick’s collaged sail-material figurative “paintings” and kaleidoscopic drawings by Billy Bert Young that reference his daily life and surrounding environment.
Greg Curnoe was born in London on November 19, 1936. From 1954-1956, Curnoe attended H. B. Beal Technical and Commercial High School in London and later studied art at Kitchener’s Doon School of Fine Arts (1956) and the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1957-1960).
Upon returning to London in 1960, Curnoe became a highly motivated artist-community organizer. He co-organized the first art “happening” (1962), co-founded Region Magazine (1961-90), Region Gallery (1962-63) and the Forest City Gallery (1973- ). He also played a key role in the founding of the Nihilist Spasm Band (1965), a collection of artists that created “music” on homemade instruments. In 1968, along with Jack Chambers, Tony Urquhart and Kim Ondaatje, Curnoe became one of the first members of CARFAC, an artist collective that advocates for artists’ rights.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Curnoe exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. In 1967, Curnoe received a prestigious mural commission for the Dorval International Airport in Montreal. He represented Canada at the Sao Paulo Bienal (1969) and at the Venice Biennale (1976).
Curnoe’s artwork has been included in major exhibitions including “Heart of London” (1968) National Gallery of Canada, “Greg Curnoe: Retrospective” (1981) Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and “Greg Curnoe: Life & Stuff” (2001) Art Gallery of Ontario. His artwork is included in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, National Gallery of Canada, Oakville Galleries, Vancouver Art Gallery and in many other prominent public and private collections.
On November 14, 1992, Greg Curnoe was struck from behind while riding his bright yellow Mariposa bicycle with the London Centennial Wheelers. He was pronounced dead later that day at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital. He is survived by his wife Sheila, children Owen, Galen and Zoe, brother Glen and sister Lynda.
Murray Favro was born in Huntsville, ON in 1940. He moved to London as a teenager where he studied art at H. B. Beal Technical and Commercial High School. With Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, Ron Martin and others, Favro was part of the generation of London artists who became nationally recognized in the 1960s. He is also well known as a founding member of the Nihilist Spasm Band, which was crucial to the development of his artistic approach.
Favro is widely regarded for his highly original exploration of invention, perception and cognition. Working in drawing, sculpture, performance and installation, Favro often incorporates slide and film projections, lighting effects, and computer and electronic technology. His work involves inquisitive play and studied observation. The everyday objects that he designs and builds raise serious questions about art, technology and the nature of representation.
Around 1965 he abandoned painting for other-than-art interests – guitars, machines, airplanes, experiments with film images and inventions. A Canada Council Arts Bursary in 1970 allowed him to devote himself to his art. That year he developed his first successful “projected reconstruction,” in which images on a slide are projected onto their wooden, white, life-sized counterparts, giving them colour, detail and identity. He later produced modified inventions (Windmill Electric Generator, 1975-76; Perpetual Motion Machine, 1976-77), evolved inventions (Propeller Engine, 1978), and material, 3-dimensional renderings of airplanes (Sabre Jet, 55% Size, 1979-83).
Known for his multi-disciplinary practice, Favro’s artwork has been the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1983 and in 1998 at the London Regional Art & Historical Museum. Murray Favro received the Gerhson Iskowitz Award in 1997 and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2007.
James Kirkpatrick, born in London, ON in 1977, attended H.B. Beal Secondary School and received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002. He has exhibited his work extensively throughout the US and Canada including shows in new York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver. In 2009 Kirkpatrick was featured in the group show Pulp Fiction, which traveled from Museum London to the MOCCA in Toronto and St. Mary’s University Art Gallery in Halifax. Kirkpatrick was included in the successful Not Bad For London group exhibition at the Michael Gibson Gallery and L.O. Today at Museum London. In 2014 the McIntosh Gallery at Western University mounted a solo exhibition of James Kirkpatrick’s paintings, drawings, video, sound sculpture and installation work. Also known for his participation in the early Canadian graffiti movement and as avant-garde hip-hop artist Thesis Sahib, Kirkpatrick works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, zines, mask-making and experimental sound improvisation.
Ron Martin was born in London, Ontario in 1943 where he set-up his first studio with Murray Favro. He was one of the original members of the Forest City Gallery and was influenced early in his career by Greg Curnoe. Ron Martin was one of a small group of painters in Canada that considered the act of creating a work a type of performance, which served to remind the viewer that their experience of a material object, such as a painting, was rooted in an experience of themselves.
Martin has had an active studio practice since 1965 with numerous solo and group exhibitions across Canada, in New York, Germany, Japan and France. He is included in a number of major exhibitions including biennials and group exhibitions at the National Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, is an independent curator, musician and writer and is represented in numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Museum London.
Jason McLean was born in London, ON in 1971. After attending H.B. Beal Secondary School with Marc Bell and Peter Thompson, McLean graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver in 1997.
Since 1994, Jason McLean has exhibited nationally and internationally including shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Loyal Gallery in Malmo Sweden, and at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica.
A Canadian art darling, McLean was chosen by Maclean’s Magazine as one of the top 10 artists to watch in Canada in 2004. In 2013, McLean was the only Canadian artist selected by Canadian Art Magazine to collaborate with smart Canada to paint on a smart car that travelled across Canada. McLean has also collaborated on t-shirt designs with designer Jeremy Laing, was commissioned to paint a mural inside of the Drake Hotel on Queen Street, Toronto and co-runs the Canadian Pez Museum with his 2 sons Felix & Henry in the basement of their home.
Jason McLean has work in major collections throughout North America including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, BMO Collection, TD Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada.
Billy Bert Young was born in London, Ontario in 1983. He graduated from H. B. Beal Secondary School in 2003, where he was introduced to the drawings and zines of Marc Bell and Peter Thompson and the graffiti work of James Kirkpatrick’s (AKA Thesis Sahib). In 2004 he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he graduated with a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a major in printmaking. During his time in Halifax he exhibited work in several group and solo shows. In 2008 he moved back to London to be close to family and to work with local artists that had influenced his work in the past. Since then he has made collaboration a main component of his practice; creating zines, drawings and murals alongside fellow artists such as James Kirkpatrick and Jason McLean.