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William Kurelek, Lumberjack’s Breakfast

William Kurelek, Lumberjack’s Breakfast (1973), egg tempera on board [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria BC, May 25-Sep 3] Collection: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

William Kurelek: The Messenger

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Victoria BC – May 25-Sep 3, 2012

William Kurelek, The Painter

William Kurelek, The Painter (1974), mixed media on hardboard [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria BC, May 25-Sep 3] The Thomson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

William Kurelek, The Ukrainian Pioneer

William Kurelek, The Ukrainian Pioneer, detail (1971-1976) acrylic, graphite, coloured pencil, gouache on masonite [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria BC, May 25-Sep 3] National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Transfer from the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, 1990

William Kurelek: The Messenger is the third stop of a cross-Canada tour that has included the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Co-curated by Mary Jo Hughes, Tobi Bruce and Andrew Kear, The Messenger brings together over 80 key paintings and drawings from major collections in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

William Kurelek (1927-1977) produced more than 2,000 paintings in a prolific outpouring that documented bucolic scenes of immigrants working the land, children playing, and community country events. He has been called Canada’s Norman Rockwell,  Canada’s Cornelius Krieghoff, a Prairie Hieronymus Bosch and a naive, flatland Bruegel. Kurelek devoted entire series of paintings to Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, French Canadian and Inuit peoples. Much of his work depicts nostalgic scenes of a simpler past.

Kurelek also had a dark side. Described as a “tormented soul,” he succumbed to mental illness and religious fanaticism before emerging as an artist in the service of God. During the last 20 years of his life, his mission became the communication of the Christian religion through illustrative and narrative works.

The exhibition catalogue, a glossy hardcover book, describes Kurelek as one of Canada’s most popular yet most enigmatic 20th-century artists. In conjunction with the touring exhibit, a comprehensive website at www.kurelek.ca was developed and will be available for five years. This major undertaking provides a wealth of information on Kurelek’s life and work.

www.aggv.ca

Mia Johnson


William Kurelek, Parable of the Lost Sheep

William Kurelek, Parable of the Lost Sheep (1963), mixed media on masonite [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria BC, May 25-Sep 3] Proposed gift to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

William Kurelek, Manitoba Party

William Kurelek, Manitoba Party (1964), oil on masonite [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria BC, May 25-Sep 3] National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa


 Sun, Jun 3, 2012