Pub date: August 26, 2014
Art Gallery of Ontario and Goose Lane Editions
Alex Colville is one of Canada’s most recognized and most celebrated artists. Alex Colville, the book, will honour this iconic Canadian artist’s legacy and explore the continuing impact of his work from the perspectives of several prominent popular figures from film, literature, and music. Known for painting decidedly personal subject matter, Colville’s painstakingly precise images depict an elusive tension, often imbued with a deep sense of danger and capturing moments perpetually on the edge of change and the unknown. A painter, printmaker, and war artist who drew his inspiration from the world around him, Colville transformed the seemingly mundane figures and events of everyday life into archetypes of the modern condition.
Using a thematic, rather than a chronological presentation, Andrew Hunter, the curator of Canadian art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, introduces interludes that explore Colville’s influence on filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, and Sarah Polley, writers such as Alice Munro, and photographers such as Jeff Wall. Cartoonist David Collier will also produce an original 5-page comic insert about Colville that will appear in the middle of the book.
The book is rounded out with more than a hundred colour reproductions of early and later work. Spanning the entirety of Colville’s career, the works featured in the book have been assembled from museums and private collections nationwide, some of which have never been included in any of the many previously published books on Colville as well as his most iconic paintings, including Horse and Train, 1953; To Prince Edward Island, 1965; Woman in Bathtub, 1973; and Target Pistol and Man, 1980. Together, the text and the reproductions will intersect in a dialogue of words and images around Colville’s ideas, influence, and techniques.
“At the window, the sound of waves crashing on the beach has a rhythm, and that rhythm has momentum, and as you close your eyes, that sound begins to vibrate, it blurs into a heavy pulsing sound of wheels pounding over the gaps in the steel rails. It passes. You hear the wind rush through the tall dry marsh grass, feel it pull at your clothes, drawing you inland, after the dark horse, and the girl keeps watching. Hear that lonesome whistle blow. The sound peaks, it becomes a cry. It is the last thing you will ever and always hear.” — Andrew Hunter