Thursday, December 3, 2015

David Blackwood

We are pleased and privileged to present a selection of etchings from David Blackwood, one of Canada's most accomplished and respected artists.  Through his etchings, this internationally acclaimed master printmaker takes us on a voyage to the Newfoundland of his youth, a world that is essentially non existent today, and certainly unfamiliar to most.  While the world of Blackwood's work might exist only in memory and imagination, the themes of family, home, community and man's relationship to nature that he explores are current and real, and resonate universally.

David Blackwood was born in Wesleyville, Newfoundland in 1941.  At the time, Newfoundland was still a British Dominion, with little electricity and few roads.  Life revolved around the sea, religion, family and community.  It was a world inhabited by sea captains, boat builders, sealers and mummers.  It was also a world where the harshness of the land and the reliance on the sea instilled in its people a sense of resilience and fearlessness and a resolute acceptance of adversity.  Community was important and there was a strong reliance on neighbors and family in the people of Wesleyville.  There was also an understanding and appreciation for the importance of generosity, sharing, and putting others before oneself.  These qualities were given heightened significance by the strong religious roots of the community.

While the people and landscape of Newfoundland are the inspiration and subjects for Blackwood's work, it is perhaps the qualities and values ingrained in him by those people that allowed him to chart his creative course and guide him through his career.  When Blackwood began his career, the art scene emphasis was on Abstract Expressionism.  His work, with its focus on community and a strong storytelling narrative, was worlds away from that of the Expressionists and their abstract reflections of their own individual psyches.  The labor intensive and physically demanding process of printmaking was also in stark contrast.  He didn't follow the course of many of his contemporaries, but Blackwood did have very early critical success.  By the age of twenty-three, one of his etchings had been purchased by the National Gallery of Canada.  Over the course of his career, Blackwood has received many honours including the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.  In 2003, he was named Honorary Chairman of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the first practising artist to be so honoured.  In 2011 a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario "Black Ice: David Blackwood Prints of Newfoundland" showcased a large body of his work.  Today his work may be found in virtually every public gallery and corporate art collection in Canada as well as major public and private collections around the world including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Bragg's Island, 2007
14.5" x 13" framed

Young Mummer, 2012
20.5" x 16.5" framed

Cape Harrison, 2004
16" x 20.5" framed

The Wesleyville Under Construction, 2012
17.75" x 20.5" framed

Passing the 'Rostellan', 2013
21" x 26" framed

Dante's Barque Crossing, 2012
27" x 30" framed