Friday, 5 August 2011

Ottawa Newspaper Lauds War Show

Canada’s last official war artist is the star of a new show that captures the changing nature of the art form

Meet Ted Zuber, Canada’s last “official” war artist.

Grey-haired and bearded, the 79-year-old Zuber claims that title because he says he is the last person to hold a military rank and, simultaneously, to be deployed officially as an artist with Canadian troops in a wartime situation.

By Ted Zuber
A resident of Seeley’s Bay, near Kingston, Zuber served as a parachutist with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment during the Korean War, 1950-53. Although there were no official war artists in that conflict, Zuber sketched battlefield scenes and later turned those rough drawings into oil paintings. In fact, he finished one just a few weeks ago. (More on that later.)

Today, artists depicting working Canadian soldiers may or may not have ever seen a battlefield or even met a soldier. Indeed, the artworks being produced today tend to be more about the psychological dilemmas faced by soldiers than depictions of actual wartime or other military activities. Examples are the works of Gertrude Kearns and Scott Waters, two of the country’s top contemporary military artists.

Both the old and new kinds of war art are on view at an exhibition, simply titled War, that opened Aug. 4 at Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, which is part of the ever expanding Wellington West art scene. The show includes more than 40 paintings and sculptures from more than a dozen artists.

Zuber is the undisputed star of the show. He has 10 paintings in the exhibition, dating back to his Korean days.
By Karen Bailey
Another great catch for this gallery on the fringe is Ottawa’s Karen Bailey, who is represented by one painting showing a very pregnant Afghanistan veteran. Bailey spent time in Afghanistan with the military a few years ago.

By Mathieu Laca
By that unknown artist,  Shannon Lee
Most of the remainder of the artists in the show are relative unknowns, except for Mathieu Laca, a Montreal-area artist infamous for his life-size,  generously endowed, neon-coloured male nudes. (“He’s my best-selling artist,” says Mills.)

By Bruce Stewart

Among the emerging artists, be sure to check out Ottawa’s Bruce Stewart, whose paintings from the series called Road Walkers show soldiers trudging along misty paths to the unknown. These are some of the most powerful and haunting works in the exhibition.

Read the entire article here: