Remembering Alex Colville, 1920-2013

In celebration of an iconic Canadian Artist.

Colville’s silent images are static. Yet practically all of them tell a story, in a brief, concise plot that does not always have a resolution. Fundamental human situations are their both simple and complex themes: loneliness, isolation, parting, work, leisure, estrangement, love. The only subliminally dramatic, often melancholy laconism of content corresponds to the absolute precision of form by which it is conveyed. Like hardly another artist, Colville maintains the difficult balance between imagination and sober calculation, formal interest and social commitment. Behind the realistic surface of his imagery lurks the surreal – but a surreal that lacks every trace of theatrical staging or borrowing from psychoanalysis, whose new myths Colville deeply mistrusts. via
Colville’s images managed to elicit feelings of both contemplation and angst through the pairing of incongruous elements such as a languid nude with a gun or a blond toddler next to a large black dog with prominent claws.
Even his most serene compositions were infused with a sense of unease.
“I see life as inherently dangerous. I have an essentially dark view of the world and human affairs,” Colville once said. “Anxiety is the normality of our age.” via The Toronto Star

Seven Crows 1980
Woman on Ramp 2007
Couple on Beach, 1957
Cyclist and Crow, 1981
To Prince Edward Island 1965
Family and Rainstorm, 1955
Woman Carrying Canoe, 1972
Woman, Dog, and Canoe, 1982
Sleeper, 1975

For more, visit the National Gallery of Canada


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