Distinguished as one of Canada’s first artists to achieve international recognition, Jack Bush’s life is a fascinating story of a mid-century commercial artist turned vanguard abstract painter. His career traces a long journey toward creative independence, providing many new and delightful vantage points onto the history of abstract art. Born in 1909, Bush was addressing an international audience by the 1960s, regularly exhibiting his paintings in Toronto, New York and London. His training in commercial illustration, and his network of professional relationships on both sides of the Atlantic imbued his work with a language all its own. Nearly a generation older than his fellow Color Field artists, Bush struggled successfully to accommodate both the flatness of post painterly abstraction from the US and the persistence of the figure/ground tradition that is commonly associated with abstraction in the UK. The highly original paintings of this paradigmatic Canadian artist continue to interest art lovers well over three decades after his death in 1977.
The Jack Bush retrospective exhibition is a unique opportunity to view a full picture of the artist’s five decades of artistic achievement. Included in the Art Gallery of Alberta’s presentation of the exhibition are paintings, drawings and commercial illustrations, along with sections of the artist’s unpublished diaries, which lend vitality to the account of his unusual career.
Jack Bush is co-curated by Marc Mayer, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada, and Dr. Sarah Stanners, author of the forthcoming Jack Bush catalogue raisonné of paintings and Director, Curatorial and Collections, at McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Organized by the National Gallery of Canada as a part of the NGC@AGA exhibition series.