McMichael - Canadian Art | Collection d'art Canadien


Back to Past Exhibitions


Ivan Eyre's Drawings, Paintings, and Small Sculpture

May 7 to August 14, 2011

Ivan Eyre is widely acknowledged as a Canadian artist of major accomplishment whose works possess an urgency of vision and a technical mastery rarely equalled in contemporary art. Eyre's achievements in the figurative and landscape movements of our time have been noted in many insightful commentaries, but the relationship between his sculpture and graphic work has been less thoroughly considered.

Works by Ivan Eyre will be featured in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection's new Sculpture Garden, providing an opportunity to examine a rarely seen body of work by a Canadian master. The McMichael bronzes constitute a summary of Eyre's figurative preoccupations for the last four decades. These monumental works have had a long gestation. Hundreds of drawings dating from the early sixties — when the earliest expression of Eyre's vision was first formulated — reveal the dynamic and complementary relationship between Eyre's graphic work and sculpture, a relationship contributing significantly to our appreciation of the large bronzes.

The mythological paintings and the large landscapes for which Eyre is perhaps best known, are both informed by the formal investigations explored in these early drawings and sculpture. Like his drawings, Eyre's sculpture is a complex synthesis of many elements. Western and non-Western influences have been absorbed and reformulated to suit the dictates of a playful, contradictory, and paradoxical mind.

The ambiguities of Eyre's work defy conventional notions of meaning. Logic is replaced by a poetic sense of connectivity between visual elements, which are set within an expanded notion of "landscape", co-existent, with a stated concern for "human attitudes, perspectives and realities." This expanded notion of landscape, that is, of the figure as a landscape and the landscape as a figure, is given repeated expression in his drawings over the course of Eyre's career. These repetitions form the lexicon of imagery that have made Eyre's vision so persuasively and powerfully original.

The evolution of Eyre's thought is addressed in a selection of drawings, early paintings, and sculpture chosen to illuminate some of the complexities of this major artist's challenging and paradoxical vision.

Tom Lovatt
Exhibition Curator

North Watch by Ivan Eyre Ivan Eyre
North Watch, 2010
305 cm

Study for Philosopher by Ivan Eyre
Ivan Eyre
Study for Philosopher, 1971
graphite and coloured pencil
19.2 x 22 cm


ContactPrivacyAccessibilityAcknowledgementCaring for Artwork
© 2017 McMichael Canadian Art Collection - An Agency of the Government of Ontario