Artist of the Week

January 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ian Turner

“There’s a photograph of my sister and I, taken when we were still quite young, as we painted watercolour masterpieces along the shoreline of our family cottage on Georgian Bay. The photograph, as well as the painting that I made that day, have been perpetually preserved, laminated side-by-side into a placemat. On the underside is another watercolour I made around the same age:  a copy of a Tom Thomson waterfall from the McMichael Canadian Collection. The placemat is sort of faded now; bits of dry macaroni and cheese give it a rough texture. It doesn’t look like much, but thinking of it now, it represents the foundation of my artistic life.”  Ian Turner

I graduated from high school a year after my classmates, following a botched attempt at becoming a professional cyclist. A fresh start and new direction were required: I jumped the first freight train headed for Vancouver, intent on studying science at Simon Fraser University. Perhaps not quite so intent after all, as alas! I spent too much time on sketching trips in the mountains and not enough time studying chemical formulae… They sent me packing, needless to say, precipitating my return home to Toronto, now somewhat rankled and directionless. What seems like an obvious conclusion to my apathetic state was much less clear at the time, when I hesitantly – to put it mildly – signed up for a few art courses in the city. I was lucky and had good teachers; I met with positive feedback and encouragement.

I came to the Haliburton School of The Arts – Fleming College last fall with a desire for a thorough grounding in drawing and painting: to be beat over the head with the fundamentals, like an apprentice in Michelangelo’s studio. What I greatly appreciated about the school was the friendly intimacy and lack of pretension that might have turned me away from a larger institution, much like a young Claude Monet turning a cold shoulder to the Académie.

I don’t imagine any artist can ever ignore or escape from the influences of their childhood, even if they wanted to. The work of men such as Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, and J.E.H. MacDonald, will always hold a special place in my heart, and rightly so. But, as I have grown and my creative vision and personal awareness have widened, I have felt the need to stretch. My inspiration as an artist comes from a wide appreciation of artists throughout history and in my current practice I am exploring styles from the Renaissance to the Abstract Expressionists, in order to develop a more intimate relationship with art history. With so much information available to us, with the evolution of the Internet, our shrinking world, and the greater availability of books and publications, we, as artists, have access to more knowledge and inspiration within our field than ever before.

Presently working out of a studio in Toronto which, in a former life, was best known as my sister’s bedroom – one of the perks to having a sibling studying out-of-province – I am applying myself with my characteristic conscientious enthusiasm, haunting the halls of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and slowly laying waste to my bank account with open studio life drawing/painting sessions across the city.

This coming Fall, I will begin my studies in Art History at the University of Toronto, questing ambitiously after my Muse. Though in all due modesty, I find myself less and less prone to chancing upon a book touching on art or an artist that I have yet to read.

Look out for me at Exhibitions in the near future. In addition, I, like many of my illustrious apotheosized forbears, am always grateful for commissions.

A handshake in thought,                                                                                                                                                                                      Ian Turner

Interested parties may contact Mr. Turner by phone at 416 423 5526 

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