Ron Bolt: Constructing Wonder
A 50 Year Retrospective
“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” – Glenn Gould
In this exhibition, the viewer is travelling through over fifty years of Ron Bolt’s oeuvre, experiencing the peripatetic journeyman through paintings, drawings, and prints. These are the careful markings of a man who moved, in the 1960s, from the world of graphic art to that of a fine artist whose focus has been on both understanding and appreciating the sacredness and sublimity of nature.
Bolt is the quixotic voyager with camera in hand observing not only the grand vista, but the minutiae of the scene before him. Capturing light on water impossible to observe by the human eye, but there, caught by the lens, manipulated through ink, paint, and collage by the intermediary, the artist who presents the world to the viewer in a way recognizable… but not. We may think we know the landscape, but the details in this work draw us in, asks us to literally look more closely and then forces us out again as we contemplate anew.
Environmentalism can be seen as a core theme of Bolt’s work. As he has travelled around the world over the past decades, he has seen, first-hand, the destruction and degradation of the world around him. He has remarked that “we are quite possibly living in the twilight of the natural world as we have known it. In that regard, my work is an act of preservation. To preserve the natural world is to preserve a language of the wind and shifting light, of stillness, silence and space.” The work, then, is more than an homage to nature, but a rallying cry. These worlds, whether in detail or panoramic view are majestic and worthy, not only of our contemplation, but of our support.
Ron Bolt was born in Toronto in 1938. He graduated as a gold medallist from Northern Technical School and furthered his art studies through courses at the Ontario College of Art and Ryerson Polytechnic. He was the 27th President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, awarded the Canada 125 Medal in 1992, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the RCA’s Centennial Medallion in 2005.
His work has been shown in over a hundred and twenty solo and group exhibitions.