BARKER FAIRLEY and E.B. COX
February 25 - March 17 . 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, February 25th - 2 to 4pm
Sculpture by E.B. COX alongside minimalist landscapes, portraits & 1960s family vignettes by Barker FAIRLEY makes for the quintessential Canadian exhibition.
BARKER FAIRLEY (1887-1986)
Fairley approached painting with the full vocabulary of an art historian. Yet, his method, like his approach to people, was almost irreverent in its honesty; determined to expose the core essence of his subjects. Minimalist in his aesthetic, Fairley stripped his subjects of pretense, moving from landscape to portraiture as a matter of impulse. Built entirely of flat areas, line and a deliberately limited colour palette, his works were intellectual distortions, almost mocking in their superficial naiveté. Sitters were often put off by his portraits- uncomfortable by their own unmasking and the plain fact of their character as portrayed by Fairley.
Though the names of his sitters read like a chapter of 20th Century Canadiana, a rare but notable subset of Fairley's portraits are those that situate the sitter in a scene. The inclusion of props and the implication of narrative in these pieces acknowledges context in a way that is uncommon in his better known works. Playing cards, reading- Fairley's interactional pieces seem a departure from the landscapes and stoic studies for which he is better known. Few in number, these pieces speak to the humanism Fairley not only philosophized but practiced in life. "If I had followed my convictions I'd have done more social paintings" Fairley explained in retrospect.
For the advocate and later critic of the Group of Seven's persistent reign, Fairley's body of active portraits may speak more of the "Canadian fact" than any landscape.
Please click to read the full Barker Fairley essay.
E.B. COX (1914 - 2003)
Studying languages at the University of Toronto from 1934 to 1938, Mr. Cox was befriended by German professor and painter Barker Fairley, who introduced him to A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley and Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven.
'It is safe to say that anyone who has lived or visited the Toronto area has experienced the pleasure of viewing E. B. Cox's sculpture. The pieces are everywhere and many people have enjoyed them for a lifetime without realizing who created these wonderful works.'
- Wendy Ingram
E.B. Cox: A Life in Sculpture,
Boston Mills Press, 1999, pg. 42
We invite you to join us at the gallery to explore all that Cox achieved -- be it introducing the air compressed chisel to Canadian sculptors, the life lessons he was so fond of sharing, his many publicly displayed works -- and most importantly -- the quality of his lines. Rendering in stone and wood, the exhibition includes works in limestone, marble, dolomite and alabaster. In addition, we have recently released a new series of bronze castings.
E.B. Cox's claim to fame need not be that he sculpted the Group of Seven's tombstones (The McMichael grounds, Kleinberg, Ontario) when the body of work left to the public and private collectors is of such a grand calibre.
'I make beautiful things for other people.' ~ E.B. Cox
Please click to read more about the life of E.B. Cox.