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Art at Queen's Park: The Macdonald Block - Ontario - York Wilson Title Banner

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York Wilson was born in Toronto in 1907 and died there in 1984. He studied briefly at the Ontario College of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts, but was largely self-taught. Wilson worked as a commercial artist before becoming a full-time painter in 1939. In addition to his smaller works, Wilson achieved a considerable reputation for the mural commissions he undertook beginning in the mid 1940s. These included perhaps his best known work, Seven Lively Arts at the O’Keefe (now Hummingbird) Centre in Toronto. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the Ontario Society of Artists and the Canadian Group of Painters. His work has been exhibited internationally since 1939 and the artist received the J. W. L. Forster Award twice: once in 1945 and again in 1950. In addition to his installed murals, his works are displayed in museums across Canada including the collections of the National Gallery in Ottawa and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Wilson’s comments on this vinyl acetate on canvas mural are enlightening: “Ontario has innumerable lakes, rivers and waterfalls. More than sixty per cent of Ontario is forested. Gold, silver, cobalt, radium, nickel, lead and zinc are all mined in Ontario; mainly in the pre-Cambrian Shield area. With thoughts of Ontario’s resources in mind, the mural was designed. It is completely non-figurative, but it does relate to the general colour and form of Ontario.

Ontario, 1968 - York Wilson

Click to see a larger image (340K)
Ontario, 1968
York Wilson
vinyl acetate on canvas
Government of Ontario Art Collection, 619755

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