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The Broken World of John Wills

Glenbow Museum
Calgary AB – Aug 21-Nov 14, 2010

John Will, Lana and the Js

John Will, Lana and the Js (1986), lithograph [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, Aug 21-Nov 14] Collection of Glenbow Museum.

John Will, Flatbush Avenue

John Will, Flatbush Avenue (1977), lithograph [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, Aug 21-Nov 14] Collection of Glenbow Museum.

For the past 50 years, Calgary artist and retired professor John Will has played the “alpha male” for Canadian art audiences through mainly autobiographical photographs, performances and paintings. With roles that range from painterly sage to art-world outsider, he has created performance art pieces which hold the art world and gallery system up to scrutiny, as well as “bad” paintings, collages and signs. He has treated with rudeness and wit the subjects of sex, war, racism, religion, mortality, sport, anxiety, rock and roll, the economy, celebrity culture, the art world, bizarre events, alien landings and personal hygiene.

The Broken World of John Will features lithographs selected from Glenbow's extensive collection of his artwork. Between 1962 and 1980, Will produced over 100 prints, each labour-intensive and demonstrating his technical prowess as a printmaker. The Glenbow describes his work as being “in a tradition of artists who are satirical, subversive and sometimes slanderous in their critique of society from Hogarth and Daumier to Ensor and William Wiley”.

John Will was educated in painting and printmaking in Iowa, and was a Fulbright scholar at the Rijaskademie in Amsterdam and a Ford Foundation Printer Fellow at the Tamarind Institute. Now a Professor Emeritus, he taught at the University of Calgary for 27 years and continues to wield his influence over students, artists and the Calgary art community.


Mia Johnson

 Sun, Sep 5, 2010