York Wilson
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York Wilson Retrospective

Organized by the Sarnia Public Art Gallery

We are proud to have initiated this long-deserved tribute to York Wilson. Although a retrospective is important to an artist, its is even more important to his public because it adds to the understanding and appreciation of his work.

The paintings in this exhibition date from 1927 to 1973. During that time York Wilson has traveled and painted all over the world, and as a result his work reaches beyond the confines of the Canadian experience. His paintings are thoughtfully composed, and characterized by a boldness of design, rich colour and texture, and lively sweeping forms.

York Wilson has exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy, the Canadian Group of Painters and the Ontario Society of Artists. But he never joined any movement, nor was he ever classified into any of the isms. His work is completely unique.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, he has achieved considerable recognition abroad. For example, he was the first Canadian to receive the supreme compliment from the Government of France: an invitation to mount a one-man show in the Paris gallery of his choice. It is interesting to note that in the World Book Encyclopedia, York Wilson’s work is illustrated with that of Michelangelo and Thomas Hart Benton, all great and memorable muralists.

We are indebted to the artist for his assistance and the patience in selecting and locating the works for display. We are also grateful to the individuals, galleries and institutions who loaned pictures for this exhibition. And we acknowledge with thanks the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Margo Street, Curator

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