BERT WEIR

Canadian Artist 1925 - present

THE ART OF BERT WEIR

A FORCE OF NATURE:  THE ART OF BERT WEIR

 

Lisa Daniels

The Art of Bert Weir

Calgary:  Titanium White Editions, 2010

96pp, $ 45.00

ISBN 978-0-9730489-1-9


 

By picking up his brush every day despite severe physical infirmities,

85-year-old Parry Sound artist Bert Weir testifies profoundly to his

intense relationship with his art and with life.  What a pleasure to find

this new book on his life and work.  While containing but a small sampling of Weir's prodigious oeuvre, The Art of Bert Weir by Lisa Daniels is not only a valuable addition to every artists' library, but should also—and rightly so—serve to focus wider public attention on his achievements and contribution to the visual arts. 



Daniels, the curator-director of  The Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (The Art Gallery of Lambton) in Sarnia, Ontario, holds an MA in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts.   Writing in a scholarly but very readable style, and drawing on a variety of sources to support her insights, she skillfully weaves Weir's biographical data together with commentary on his philosophy so that the context of each stage of the artist's life and career is clear.  She masterfully demonstrates that Weir's life is “one unending painting.”



Weir received his formal art training at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1952.  Married to fellow art student Elena Zebrauskaite, he moved his young family north to the Parry Sound area of Ontario where he set up McKellar Lodge Summer Studio and retreat where colleagues and students were invited to work, study and discuss.  Such collegiality is a hallmark of Weir's generous and gregarious nature.  Through the years his homes have been a meeting place where “rural artistic life confront[s] urban art values.” 



Daniels reveals both the man, with a strong work ethic who embraces life head-on, and the artist, questing for an understanding of his personal response to the material and spiritual world.  Of himself, Weir has observed, “I was trying to become saturated with nature and then spill it out, let my feelings reveal themselves with the brush—like dancing, the whole body is involved, essentially, facilitating man's relationship with the spiritual.” Everything in his world—including pain and illness—has found expression on his canvasses.  Elena's death from cancer 1995 motivated the Cancer Series and his recovery from heart surgery in 1996 engendered the Rebirth Series



His collaboration with Joy Allan, a talented artist in her own right, whom he married in 2002, has seen him branch into new media—woodcuts, poetry, and book illustration—and new ways of connecting with the natural world.  The 2008 exhibition entitled Bushwalk (available on DVD) combined the many aspects of his creativity.  Canvasses were hung from trees in a forest “gallery,” where dappled sunlight played across the painted surfaces.  Presented with the cello stylings of Brenda Muller and with dance and drumming, it is an exhilarating experience.



The Art of Bert Weir includes selected family photographs and 84 colour plates reproduced from photographs by Joy Allan and Cody Storm Cooper printed on quality paper.  The plates are complemented by Daniels' thoughtful analysis that serves the reader well in charting Weir's development.  In arranging the work chronologically and by comparing different periods, the author impels the curious mind to further examine, compare and contrast the other works on offer.  Daughter Sky undertook the book's design and typography.  The foreword by John Inglis, former chair of the department of fine arts at OCA, affords an appraisal of Weir's art from the perspective of their sixty-year friendship.  A bibliography, end notes and a chronology enable the reader to pin down dates and references, and find information on collections and grants.  More than a mere coffee table art book, this study is an insightful examination of one Canada's finest artists—a book which should be in every thoughtful person's library.


Stockwell Iacona

2010/10

 

 

Contact Loon Studios to order book @ 45.00

(Shrink wrapped, hardcover, 96 pages)

“...This book is a testimony, a celebration of a single man’s vision and mankind’s undaunting spirit to learn and share that knowledge with others...”

John McGregor

CANADIAN ARTIST

CV

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