Though not a stranger to the gallery, this will be our first solo exhibition for Tony Urquhart. For our inaugural show, we decided to feature the work that Urquhart is best known for, his multi-dimensional, multi-media, imaginative, participatory box sculptures. Dating from 1970 to 2007, the boxes on exhibit will be accompanied by his exquisite drawings.
Tony Urquhart has a strong connection to London, moving here in 1960 at the beginning of the Regionalist movement. As the first artist in residence at the University of Western Ontario, he helped hire Western’s first visual arts professors, acted as curator of the McIntosh Gallery and was one of the artists who brought national attention to the flourishing art scene.
Growing up in St. Catherine’s, Urquhart’s artistic influences came more from Buffalo and the New York Abstract Expressionists. His visceral response to the icons, graveyards and gardens of Europe also fed his unique vision and separated him from the rest of his fellow Isaacs Gallery artists.
The boxes, specifically, combine all aspects of his interests – landscape, architecture and fantasy – and began in 1967. They quickly became little worlds in themselves that include the spectator and invite participation. Each one is a small isolated museum of objects, landscapes and ideas, prepared carefully for our discovery.