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Alex Colville: Return
     

Alex Colville: Return

by Tom Smart, Alex Colville
 

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Alex Colville: Eternal Return builds upon the extensive body of literature and exhibitions about one of Canada’s most renowned, award-winning artists. Beginning with Embarkation (1994), this book, which accompanies a traveling exhibition and a Website, showcases Colville’s paintings and prints of the last ten years and discusses them in relation to

Overview

Alex Colville: Eternal Return builds upon the extensive body of literature and exhibitions about one of Canada’s most renowned, award-winning artists. Beginning with Embarkation (1994), this book, which accompanies a traveling exhibition and a Website, showcases Colville’s paintings and prints of the last ten years and discusses them in relation to select earlier pieces and the several contexts in which they were created. It suggests that his creative process and his new finished work constitute a personal mode of witnessing, an essential visual testimony in response to trauma. Alex Colville was a Canadian war artist, sent to Europe to chronicle the events of the Second World War. He was one of three painters admitted to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as it was being liberated, and Alex Colville: Eternal Return proposes that Colville's life work as an artist has been to return artistically and metaphorically to the extraordinary horrors that he experienced in Germany in 1945. To express this unimaginable chaos, Colville sought order, which he found in an artistic style defined as "magic realism."

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Colville (b. 1920) is an acclaimed Canadian artist who lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in the picturesque Annapolis valley. Even though this book (as well as the small show it accompanies) features only 18 paintings, prints, and selected preliminary drawings of the last ten years, curator Smart (Frick Art & Historical Ctr., Pittsburgh) writes convincingly and sensitively of Colville's long life and influential career (with the artist's tacit cooperation). Labeled a practitioner of magic realism, Colville produces introspective, nuanced works that recall Seurat, Hopper, and Alex Katz. His World War II sketches of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp days after liberation are curiously detached yet profoundly expressive. Throughout the catalog, attention is paid to technique, composition, favorite subjects (e.g., a lone figure in nature around water or animals), and recurrent themes of ordering, doubling, longing, and morality. In these strong and unusually cropped compositions, quiet contemplation is everything; one can almost hear the sitters thinking. Highly recommended for collections with an emphasis on contemporary art and for those that may lack other Colville holdings. [The catalog accompanies a traveling exhibition inaugurated at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in fall 2003.-Ed.]-Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781550549829
Publisher:
Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
Publication date:
06/09/2004
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 9.78(h) x 0.79(d)

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Meet the Author

Tom Smart is Director of Museum Programs at the Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh where he organizes and presents exhibitions drawn from the collections of European museums. He has coordinated numerous shows, including "Art in the Age of Van Gogh" for the Winnipeg Art Gallery and several exhibitions of historical and contemporary art for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton. He is also the author of the award-winning titles The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light, The Art of Fred Ross: A Timeless Humanism and The World of John Hooper.

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