Tony Urquhart is one of Canada's leading contemporary artists. His paintings, drawings, and unique "boxes" have received major recognition at home and abroad. He's played a crucial role in the development of contemporary art in Canada, in both his activism for artists' rights and his distinguished teaching career. Enjoy your visit!
All the works of art I most admire seem to have one thing in common: an "after-image" - something about the painting that lingers in the mind and makes one want to come back to it. -Tony Urquhart
Object on Brown Ground, 1965, 48"x48"
Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Oshawa, ON
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
Museo Civico, Lugano, Switzerland
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Art Gallery of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.
Art Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.
Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Sask
Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, P.Q.
London Public Library and Art Museum, London, ON
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON
Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, Minn
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, ON
Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, ON
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Western Ontario, London, ON
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
Sir George Williams University, Montreal, P.Q.
London Regional Museum and Art Gallery, London, ON
Hirschorn Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Art Bank, B.C. Government, B.C.
Confederation Art Gallery, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Art Gallery of Sarnia
Though he had painted framed landscapes all his life, my husband, Tony Urquhart, had never to my knowledge installed a storm window. But now that we were living in my family home in Colborne Ontario it was going to be necessary for him to do so. The house and barn were two-hundred years old and, although my parents had replaced almost all the windows, there were still three or four of the historical variety that, now that it was autumn, would need to be attended to.
I took him out to the barn, more specifically to the part of the barn that had once housed horses and still had stalls. He was not in a cheerful mood, and remarked that it would be all day before he was able to match the storms windows with the ones on the house. I began to sort through the windows closest to the door, noticing as I did so that they had been buffered by larger round pieces of Masonite. It wasn't until I had pulled back the third or fourth window that I saw that the other side of this Masonite was painted in some form or another, very difficult to distinguish because of a thick layer of dust. I cleaned a small area with the sleeve of my jacket, revealing brushstrokes.
It wasn't long before we were rolling five four foot tondos out of the barn and into Tony's studio. Painted in 1965, they were the last of a period of landscape-based abstract oils my husband had completed in another life, forty-five years before, and had never shown. A number of moves, and an eventual house sale meant that, by the time we met in 1974, he was desperately seeking storage space, and my parents' barn must have looked like one of a number of likely locations. At some time during that year, Tony must have rolled the beautiful tondos into the barn and then, as time passed, he must have forgotten all about them. After my father's death some years later, my mother hired a handy man to help her with various chores including the putting on and taking off of the storm windows. Seeing the round pieces of Masonite, this gentleman must have felt they would be a great way to prevent the windows from knocking against each other and breaking.
We had not intended to live in my parents' house but, when after their death no one else wanted to, we decided to take the plunge. Had we not, these gorgeous tondos, having survived forty-five years in an unheated and unlocked barn, would likely have been thrown into the dump along with all the other scraps of lumber in the barn, and quite probably the storm windows as well.
-Jane Urquhart September 2011