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before ’64 1964-74 1975-87 1987-99 2000-07 paper sculpture
before '58 enamels relief signs mandalas lines etc drawings

Before 1964

From Abstraction to Non-representation

Here are six overviews of the earliest Bloore paintings and one of the earliest drawings. The paintings are grouped, roughly, by year and mainly by style and each group has a series page. Stylistically anomalous works have their thumbnail images among their contemporaries on this page but they have been given their own “Anomalous Works” Series Page.



before 58













These thumbnails link down this page.
Direct links to Series Pages are at the top.


Before '58

To the Abstracts Series Page

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Juvenalia and Early Abstraction

Ron Bloore was an artist from the moment he could hold a pencil. He resolved to be an artist at a very young age. As he told the story: at about the age of five, when a milkman saw him drawing and said he could be an artist some day, his mother said, No! there's no money in that. And in that instant his mind was made up.

In his school years he always drew. He would do themed murals on the chalkboard at the side of the room during class because it would keep him, and his classmates, from looking out the windows. In high school he would get study credit for spending many hours alone at the Royal Ontario Museum doing drawings of animals and art treasures. In his undergraduate years in Toronto he studied art and archeology and he won many art competitions and his works were frequently used in the student paper.

Bloore did post-grad studies at New York University in the early fifties. Then he went to Washington University as an instructor, then to the Courtauld in London and Paris, and finally back to Toronto, then Regina. As he studied and taught, he painted and he drew.


1954 (540040000), mixed media and collage, private collection

Ron Bloore used to quip, when the subject, or rather subjects came up, as they in those days constantly did, “where would Picasso be if it weren't for Harold Towne?” These juvenalia of Bloore's clearly show where he himself was for some years because of Picasso. The collage above was actually directly derived from a collage by Picasso which hung over his own desk in St. Louis.

The first and last of these four works were reproduced in the 1990 retrospective catalog Not Without Design but they did not hang, nor did any other pre-'58 work hang in that show nor any other post-'58 show, nor were any available, nor are any available to this day.

To the Early Abstractions Page



To the Enamels Series Page

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The Stovepipe Enamel Paintings

After a broad and eventful education spanning the years from 1945 to 1957, and a stressful year teaching in Toronto, discussed with some detail in the Interview with Joan Murray, Bloore moved west to be part of what was seen as, and indeed was, a great cultural and political experiment going on in, of all places, Regina, Saskatchewan. He would be Director of the new Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery.


1959 (590040066), 172x172cm, stovepipe enamel on masonite, National Gallery of Canada

Bloore broke free of abstraction in Toronto in 1958 while experimenting with stove-pipe enamel on masonite panels applied with paint scrapers. The scrapers gave close control without conveying gesture. And the panels withstood the use of large, stiff tools and pressures that would not be possible with canvas. But crucially, the enamel hardened with a glossy surface whose reflections, with the slightest of movements by the viewer, constantly asserted the texture and contour of the paint itself which subverted most kinds of imagery.

To the Enamel Paintings page →



To the White Relief page →

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White Relief Oil Paintings

As Heath tells the story here, “Bloore hit the Regina art scene like one of the sudden storms the region is so famous for. Within a short period of time, he had examined the Gallery's legacy of art works donated by Norman Mackenzie and declared them falsely attributed to major European artists. He immediately started replacing the names of the masters with ‘Anonymous’ or ‘School of.’”


May 1960 (600070548), Double Sun Painting, 48x96" 122x244cm, oil on masonite

Stove-pipe enamel did not come in a very wide range of colours, so this made for some quite monochrome images. This narrowness of colours promoted the works' sculptural aspect.

To the White Relief page →



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Ten of these thumbnails link to the Sign Series Page. Two of them do not.

The Sign Series


1961, Sign No. 5, 48x78", 122x198cm, oil on masonite, private collection (610050047)

Ronald Bloore is a romantic Euclidean, interested in constant speculation rather than a final order. He is also a teacher and talker with positive, sharply defined, tersely expressed opinions. These often display a nice balance between humour and scorn.

To the Sign Series page →



To the Mandalas page →

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The Mandalas Series


1961, Blue Green and White Painting (610100044), 48x48" 122x122cm, oil on masonite
Permanent Collecton, Art Gallery of Ontario

To the Mandalas page →



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Three of these thumbnails link to the White Line Series Page. Four of them do not.

The White Line Series


1962, White Line Painting No.2, 48x78" 122x199cm, oil on masonite (620020047)
Permanent Collection, National Gallery of Canada

To the White Line Series page →


Early Drawings

To the Early Drawings page →

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Pen and Ink, 1959-61

Bloore made drawings with limning tools only until about 1968. After that his works on paper were done with brushes and ink or gouache, or with scrapers and oil paint. Many of these early pen and ink pieces were done on summer holidays when he was away from his easels at some northern lake or bay, the names of which he inscribed on the back: Fanny Bay, Emma Lake, Lac la Ronge.


1961, 20x26" 51x66cm, ink on paper, estate collection (612022026)
click to see MUCH larger

To the Early Drawings page →

Before 64
period page

TOP / 1964-74 →


Before ’64 Early Days
1964 to ’74 White on White
1975 to ’87 Back to Toronto
1987 to ’99 Synthesis
2000 to ’07 Anti-synthesis


Works on Paper
Small Maquettes
Black Works
Works With Colour
Sploore Sculptures


Sunday Sketches
1975-76 Sketches
Working Drawings
Oil Working Drawings

’54 TO ’64
pre-’58 abstracts
58-59 enamels
59-60 relief
60-61 signs
61-62 mandalas
62-63 white lines
60-63 others
59-63 drawings

’64 TO ’74
64-66 after Egypt
67-68 murals
67-70 after Regina
70-74 after Cape Dorset
67-74 maquettes
64-68 drawings
70-72 sploores

’75 TO ’87
75-76 byzantine lights
77-80 Sackvilles
79-83 stick relief
83-84 chasubles
80-84 stick chasubles
85-86 assemblages

78-79 Sackvilles on paper
1980 mixed media on paper
80-83 sumi ink on paper
80-81 gouaches on paper
1982 chasuble sketches
85-86 template drawings
1987 paper collages

80-83 small inkworks
80-81 large inkworks
80-83 very large inkworks
80-81 extra large inkworks

’87 TO ’99
87-88 the X's
88-90 grand diptyches
91-93 squares continue
93-94 4-by-4's continue
1994 inkworks on paper
94-97 white white gold
97-98 brushed lines
98-99 News Series I

2000 TO ’07
2000 New Series II
01-02 move to Spadina
2003 back on the horse
2004 late series begin
04-05 back to the square
05-06 an old man's style
06-07 the Yellow Series
2007 the Last Series