Ivan Eyre Gallery

Looking Through: The Silhouettes and Cutaways of Ivan Eyre

August 17, 2020 – February 21, 2021

This exhibition presents a selection of Ivan Eyre’s series of “silhouettes”, and “cutaways”.

It also studies his fascination with using everyday structures, such as the windowsill or a common packing box as a framing device. For Eyre, these structures were a gateway for “looking through”—and beyond—physical reality as we may commonly perceive it. These frameworks bring us closer to a surreal exploration of time, space, figuration, and subject.

This interesting framing technique gently invites us to look closer, to spend time deciphering the two (or more) images, and to consider fundamental questions of representation, reality, and illusion. Although the gut reaction is to draw a narrative between the multiple subject matters, the more one attempts to do so, the more absurd the individual elements of the image seem to become. These disorienting and complex compositions are an exploration in depth and spatiality, and a play on the traditional figure-ground dependency.

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About Ivan Eyre

Ivan Kenneth Eyre was born in Tullymet, Saskatchewan in 1935. He studied under important artists including Ernest Lindner and Eli Bornstein, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba in 1957, and spent the following year at the University of North Dakota. He returned to Canada to teach at the University of Manitoba until his retirement in 1993.

Throughout five decades of painting, Eyre produced figurative work, still lifes, personal mythologies, figure silhouette/landscape, family portraits and panoramic landscapes. His ability to combine these various interests into works of authority and visual appeal has made Eyre one of Canada's most respected painters.

Eyre’s landscapes often appear geographically specific, resembling locations as diverse as northern Manitoba and South America, but very few picture existing places—the majority are what he calls “invented landscapes.” While fictitious, by presenting vision itself as an always personal and creative act, Eyre’s painterly vistas bring the viewer closer to the world.

In 1998, the Pavilion at Assiniboine Park was restored and re-opened with the entire third floor dedicated as the Ivan Eyre Gallery. Eyre donated two hundred paintings, five thousand drawings and sixteen sculptures which are shown in exhibitions in his gallery on a rotating basis.

Eyre was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1974, he received the Queen's Silver Jubliee medal in 1977, and the University of Manitoba Alumni Jubilee Award in 1982.

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