Throughout a career that spanned from mid-1950s until his death, William Kurelek (1927-1977) and his art have meant many different things to many people. The Alberta-born, Manitoba-raised artist was a painter of innocence and fun, his scenes reminiscences of a simpler and timeless past. He was also a chronicler of the experiences of various cultural groups in Canada, devoting entire series to Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, French Canadian, and Inuit peoples. Then there is Kurelek the anguished prophet of a modern apocalypse, his art an indictment of the secular age and a testament to unwavering faith.
An important and unique aspect of this exhibition for Canadian audiences will be the inclusion of several works from Kurelek's highly formative period in England from 1952 to 1959. During this time the young artist underwent psychiatric treatment and converted to Roman Catholicism, which profoundly altered his subsequent approach to life and art making. It is in consideration of these early works that the exhibition reveals Kurelek's complex psyche and the central role it played in everything he produced.
Don’t miss the last stop of this landmark exhibition on the final stop on its cross-Canada tour. The exhibition, a partnership between the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is curated by Mary Jo Hughes, Tobi Bruce, and Andrew Kear. Read more online at: http://www.aggv.ca/exhibitions/william-kurelek
Watch our events calendar for affiliated programming for a chance to delve into the history, themes and stories behind this exhibition.
Friday May 25, 8pm | Join us at our big Sumer Season Opening in celebration of the landmark exhibition, William Kurelek: the Messenger. As with all our Openings, this event is FREE and open to the public.
Saturday May 26, 2pm | Kurelek as Journeyman Picture Maker with Tobi Bruce (AGH). This special guest talk will kick off our thematic lecture series delving into the multiple facets of this complicated artist and icon.
Tuesday May 29, 7:15pm | William Kurelek’s The Maze (2011) film screening at Cinecenta, featuring Q&A with filmmaker Nick Young & curator Mary Jo Hughes.