Roly Fenwick @ TOM

Roly Fenwick

“Roly Fenwick: Lifelines in Light and Shadow” at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound

September 9 – November 25, 2023
Opening Reception on Saturday, September 9 from 1-3pm

Curated by Shannon Bingeman
Tom Thomson Art Gallery, 840 1st Avenue West, Owen Sound, ON

Join us as we celebrate over 50 years of Roly Fenwick’s painting from his early surrealist work, lush landscapes and recent self portraits.

Born in Owen Sound in 1932, Roly Fenwick has been a steady witness to the shifting rhythms of this region having spent decades immersed in the beauty and raw energy of its landscape, transmitting it into lush psychologically charged paintings. Throughout his career, Fenwick has divided his time between his home and studio in London, Ontario, and a family cabin in Big Bay, an area north of Owen Sound along the shores of Georgian Bay. Wherever he is, Fenwick carries an intrinsic connection with the trees, swamps, and escarpment that the Bruce Peninsula encompasses, areas that he returns to both physically and inwardly to fuel his artistic practice. 

A byproduct of what Fenwick describes as his homesickness and “natural tendency to internalize,” has been a desire to paint familiar places and subjects that he feels most connected to. This extends beyond the locations of his landscapes to encompass his many self-portraits and figurative paintings of friends and family members. Although they have rarely been exhibited, his figurative works, like his landscapes, highlight an overarching desire to explore what lies beneath the surface—a spiritual search to uncover the roots and inner workings that support life. 

This exhibition presents Fenwick’s landscape and figurative paintings simultaneously, blurring the lines of distinction that separate each genre. This is conveyed through the looseness in Fenwick’s brushstrokes, the way the boundaries of his figures bleed into their environments, and how his depictions of solitary trees are handled with the same sensitivity as a portrait. One cannot help but personify Fenwick’s elms, maples, and oaks. They exude sentiments like strength, vitality, alienation, and grief; a pendulum of emotions that the artist masterfully articulates through a melancholic play of forms in light and shadow. 

More info HERE