This month, colleagues and friends will be reunited at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Beaverbrook Art GalleryNovember 10, 20140 Comments

Fredericton, NB, November 10, 2014 – New exhibitions open November 20, launching the second part of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s fall season. The public is cordially invited to attend the opening reception at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 5 pm. Two creative forces are highlighted in these new exhibitions: artist Bruno Bobak and architect Ron Thom.

Colleagues and friends, both transcended a single-genre focus and branched out into many other media, from painting to printmaking to pottery to design. Both were driving forces in Vancouver’s cultural movement of the time, and concerned with the organic and the natural in response to the industrial direction of the post-war world.

In 1947, Bruno and Molly Bobak made their way West after the war for a fresh start and to build their careers. As an artist and an educator at the Vancouver School of Art, Bruno Bobak found himself embedded in western Canada’s emergent art and de sign movement. Modern in Nature: Bruno Bobak’s Vancouver Years (1947-1960) explores that period in Bobak’s career and artistic development. “The 1950s were incredibly fertile years for Bruno Bobak,” writes curator John Leroux. “Not shackled by being labeled a painter and printmaker, he also explored many other artistic mediums such as fine craft, jewellery, pottery and architecture; and succeeded magnificently at all of them. Whatever he pursued, he fused artistic rigour with a vivid sense of material integrity, rich colour, and oftentimes a sense of whimsy for good measure.” This period saw Bobak’s recognition and career take off, his work being featured in exhibitions internationally and collected by the National Gallery.

According to Beaverbook Art Gallery Director/CEO and Chief Curator Terry Graff, the spark for this exhibition came from a donation of works from Bobak’s estate following his death in 2012, “many of which reveal a lesser known, but important dimension of Bobak’s story. Among these works are outstanding examples of an especially prolific period in his career when he and his wife, artist Molly Lamb Bobak, were fully ensconced in Vancouver’s vibrant art and design community.” The Vancouver focus of this exhibition provided a natural bridge to a fortuitously-timed exhibition centring on Ron Thom.

An architect, Ron Thom worked in a different field but nevertheless from a similar ethos as Bobak. Thom saw architecture as an art form itself, and as connected to all other arts, and shied away from industrial influences: “instead of adopting the stark modernism of the International Style,” says Adele Weder, curator of the exhibition, “Thom drew on his love of nature and art to create organic, warm and intimate places. Like Frank Lloyd Wright, Thom believed in creating not just a building for a client, but a gesamkunstwerk, or a total work of art, from the landscaping to the interiors and the furniture to the ceramics. It was an ethos that inspired Thom to shape his architecture with poetic drama.” His design work became a key part of the Canadian architectural identity.

Ron Thom and the Allied Arts presents work from a key period in Thom’s career, from 1947 to 1972, centering on his key masterpieces—the west coast houses, Massey College, and Trent University—and the allied arts that informed their design. The exhibition presents a variety of components, from sketches and drawings to paintings to furniture and craft designed or commissioned by Thom, providing an overview of this Canadian architectural icon’s work and vision.

These two exhibitions will join three already in progress: Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life; Studio Watch: Emerging Artist Series: Painting: Andrea Brewer; and Imagined Dialogues; all running through January 11, 2015. Modern in Nature: Bruno Bobak’s Vancouver Years (1947-1960) and Ron Thom and the Allied Arts will continue through March 1, 2015. They are supported by our funders, including the Province of New Brunswick and the City of Fredericton, among others.

For further information, please contact:  
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communication and Visitor Services
Phone: (506) 458-2039

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.
La Galerie d'art Beaverbrook enrichit la vie par l'art.

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