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Bev Tosh: War Brides – One-Way Passage

Glenbow Museum
Calgary AB – Nov 6-Feb 14, 2010

Bev Tosh, Shoulder-to-Shoulder

Bev Tosh, Shoulder-to-Shoulder [detail] (2001-2009), oil on wood panels [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, Nov 6-Feb 14]

Bev Tosh, String of Pearls (Vera)

Bev Tosh, String of Pearls (Vera) (2003), oil on canvas [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, Nov 6-Feb 14] Collection of Glenbow Museum

Bev Tosh, White Lace and Promises

Bev Tosh, White Lace and Promises (2003), resized veil [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, Nov 6-Feb 14] Collection of the artist

Thousands of young women met and married Canadian soldiers stationed overseas in Europe during the Second World War. More than 44,000 of these young women with their 23,000 children came to Canada in the post-war years. Their arrival was part of the single largest wave of immigration in Canadian history between WWII and the 1990s, when Canada began its current policy of accepting up to one-quarter of a million permanent residents each year.

Inspired by the stories of the mainly British-born brides, Calgary-based artist Bev Tosh has explored the historic era and its people through a complex, multi-faceted art project. Her paintings, sculptures and multi-dimensional media installations were based on interviews, photographs, letters and personal memorabilia.

Tosh's own mother was a war bride and a catalyst for her work. Tosh sought to invest the pieces, which are described as “beautiful and compelling,” with a poignancy that resonates across time, place and generations.

Outstanding is a set of 75 sepia-toned portraits on large wooden panels – each four feet high by one foot wide – of the new brides beginning their adventure. The wood grain showing through the oil paint adds a ghostly quality to the imagery.

Bev Tosh is an established figurative painter with a BA from the University of Saskatchewan, a Painting Diploma, Alberta College of Art, and an MFA (Painting), University of Calgary. She has taught at both Alberta institutions and in 2007 was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. War Brides was a six-year venture in the making for the artist, whose work focuses on images of women. War Brides was previously shown at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa; Diefenbaker Canada Centre, Saskatoon; and at the Immigration Museum, Halifax.


Mia Johnson

 Fri, Nov 6, 2009