Quotations from or about Ron Bloore
“Me? I’m on top of the world!
but it’s a small world, cracked, crumbling
and turning to dust, and the wind is starting to howl.”
Bloore on Art
art as revelation
the sacred in art
The Emma Lake
Bloore on Methods
paintings versus inkworks
the white line series, and
art without frills
Bloore on Artists
the Group of Seven
Quotes about Bloore
on daily contact
Naomi Jackson Groves
Y. M. Whelan
Michael Ethan Brodsky
Random Quotes on Art
White paintings represent freedom for the viewer.
Abstract art takes; non-representational art gives.
To me, as a painter, what is important is the service to which the art is put.
They're all untitled. Why restrict your imagination?
I'm just a simple painter. I don't make prints.
Photos don't lie...but they don't tell the truth either.
When I lived in Paris you could buy a Monet for what would be about $600. Of Course, I didn't have even that in those days and it is not my kind of stuff anyway. But I knew they were bloody good paintings.
I am not aware of any intention while painting with the exception of making a preconceived image function formally as a painting.
African art is not important just because it influenced Picasso. The point is that African art is better than Picasso.
Art is a serious, not a casual activity. It cannot be approached simply by the recognition only of the spectator's past experience. Any truly creative work should be a revelation to the beholder, an extension of his experience in life, not a confirmation of that which he already knows.
I don't like to use the term "to create" in connection with art. Man has, ever since he emerged, attempted to make images. Images whereby he can begin to approach an identification with the cosmos. Sacred art, the sacred in art, is a relatively successful attempt to achieve the unattainable...
Art expert Ronald Bloore, called by the Crown [in the Eli Langer Trial], was asked if it's ever appropriate for a society to control the subjects dealt with by artists. "Adolf Hitler tried that once," he replied.
Painting has not progressed significantly within our borders. Not even those who have studied in Mexico, Europe or elsewhere have returned with works beyond our standard level of mediocrity...
Canadian art is not bicultural
The Artists' Workshop at Emma Lake helped to evoke an intellectual atmosphere for an essentially indigenous creative movement in Regina in the late fifties; later workshops have poisoned the integrity of that atmosphere. The workshops at Emma Lake grew, achieved maturity, faltered and finally substituted for creative exploration an imported, critically secure painting theory. It is probable that recent workshops have inhibited rather than stimulated the rich potential in the visual arts on the prairies.
Bloore on Methods
[With major paintings,] the painting is totally preconceived and it's really a technical problem to finish it... It's a hell of a lot of work. It really is. I try to persuade people that painting is about 90% boredom. It's five percent fun at the beginning and then it's just a procedure of trying to complete the work. The last five percent is seeing how close you can get to the initial idea that you had before you say to hell with it, let's get on to the next one.
It seems to me that as eyes search too much for the eternal 'new', they wish to escape from reflection or, better, meditation. The white line series is a series begun and finished ( presumably finished ); there are infinite variations which could have been explored but I prefer to avoid exploitation. Forms were quite consciously limited to cruciform design. It has kept them Spartan and has permitted no extraneous seduction. You might even call it: art without frills.
Bloore on Artists
[The Group of Seven's] limited accomplishment can only be understood in a context far larger than Canada. It is part of a North American experience tempered by a limited awareness of late nineteenth century painting from Impressionism to Art Nouveau with, perhaps, flashes of Fauvism and Scandinavian landscape painting as seen by Harris and MacDonald in Buffalo in 1913.
Alone among major Canadian artists Emily Carr demonstrated the universal relevance of the native forms. Like her sculptor predecessors she responded directly to a certain physical environment. In isolation she used trees and skies and they in an ordered society had employed human, animal, fish and bird symbols to transmit history, legend and myth from generation to generation. A few other Canadian artists influenced by primitive art adapted Parisian formal interpretations of African sculpture. Carr's response was to find in Indian sculpture forms capable of evoking her spiritual immersion into a splendid and awe-inspiring landscape and to find herself in the moving immensity and continuity of the life-cycle. Others knew this art but could not use it to broaden their vision. According to Naomi Jackson Groves it was in contact with this area that A. Y. Jackson "reaffirmed his native realism." Carr accomplished her new vision, not by copying totem poles on canvas, but by learning something from them of powerful surfaces and spaces, something of the suppression of details in favour of essential shape and movement. In her forest paintings, that approach evolved until form, space and being coalesced into one.
I was as offended as anyone by that exhibition. But my moral and aesthetic sensitivities do not align with those of society’s ignorant representatives.
What I learned from Charles [Comfort] was ultimately years later: a total honesty; a total integrity and a total sense of responsibility... He's been greatly maligned in this country... I went to his last opening a few months ago at the Roberts Gallery and Louise was there. It was marvelous, really, really marvelous. She wasn't supposed to be there. Her doctor told her no to go. But there was Louise and Charles.
"...one person's formal criticism that I did listen to (and the only guy that could do it) was Doug Morton. He had the most phenomenal eye! I can still recall one time... he came in and looked at the painting. This is when I used to still use colour (or other colours ). And he looked at it and said 'you've got these problems with it: A, B, C, D.' And he was absolutely in order. At a glance. Incredible formal eye that guy's got. Very subtle eye; very logical eye."
Morton's bold imagery is difficult to place within a Canadian visual art milieu because his roots seem to be in the apparently contradictory sources of pre-war French Purism and German Expressionism... His individual, recognizable manner of image-making retains something of Purism's simplified shapes and the potency of Expressionism's colours...
Quotes about R.L.B.
In my house, above a telephone desk, hang two small while panel paintings by Ron Bloore. They were a gift of the artist to my wife a few years ago. So, while I have been engaged in conversations with the gas company, or the bill collector, my eyes have wandered over these tiny pictures, drawing both knowledge and nourishment from them.
Bloore talks of the need for an art of total environment... of the consummate integration of painting, sculpture and architecture with the surrounding landscape, particularly with the conditions of light... impossible for him as for us in this time and place.
Ronald Bloore is one of the few Canadian painters working today with a substantial achievement behind him and a persistent and growing contemporary relevance.
Bloore's designs are austerely simple, his colors the ultimate in restriction, but his textures are gloriously sensuous...
While looking at hundreds of works that span decades of time, it became obvious to me that there are certain elements - the radiating circle, the hooked line, the semi-curve, and the space both within and without that curve - that appear again and again. Mr. Bloore has developed his own meaningful symbolic system whereby these specific elements represent complex systems of thought and emotion. His work is a codex for his life experience, the merging of rigorous logic and brilliant intuition.
Ronald Bloore is a Romantic Euclidean, interested in constant speculation rather than 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. He also has a strongly spiritual side of Emersonian cast but tinged with nonrational mysticism. It is this very private sense that nourished and perhaps at bottom inspires his art.
Within groups of related works he fastens onto a strange form of symbolism which saves his paintings from being completely dehydrated emotionalism - a visual experience wrung dry of feeling. There is so little, and paradoxically so much of his essential personality in his work that it is sometimes quite awesome.
Despite the austere geometric appearance of these works, the artist is a highly visual and lyrical painter. The elementary marks of the geometry retain an immediate expressiveness; the relaxed asymmetry and optimistic acceptance of accidental gestures reflect the artist's subjective presence. We also witness a calm humour in these pictures as stable patterns are fractured to create illogical and dynamic designs...
Many contemporary painters have made pilgrimages to ancient archaeological architectural sites. None comes more immediately to mind than the Canadian Ronald Bloore, whose paintings are perhaps more profoundly affected by his experience of prehistoric and early art than any other twentieth century abstractionist. Egyptian and Greek reliefs, the architecture and the decorative arts of the Byzantine and of Islam, the prehistoric carving of the Inuit have been for him an inspiration not restricted to formal considerations but including recognition of the spiritual content of those early mythologies and sacred works that communicate across the centuries.
Ronald Bloore calls himself a "simple painter." The description, exact yet paradoxical - a typical Bloore aperçu - is borne lightly and with conviction. As a painter, simplex, he evades the dubious nomination of artist, and comes firmly down to earth on the side of the more ancient tradition of man the maker: homo faber, whose works, being well made, lend durability and give continuity to the human world, and so stand in opposition to nature's necessary indifference and conspicuous waste. As a simple painter, Bloore invokes the essential, the time-honoured, the primary conditions of his craft, and reveals the sufficiency, the integrity of both the activity of painting and its object - the finished work.
...the painting is, astonishingly, both picture and object, both image and process.
I was right about them back then. I thought they were incredible paintings and I figured I'd go in and realize they were still incredible paintings. But when I walked in they looked even better. Bloore gets better with time...
Bloore, for all his talk, is a theorist and an original one at that. It is not philosophic in the sense that Molinari's was. It is as physically based as his painting... But most of all, what about opticality? Bloore is about seeing - no matter whether you approach his painting, his judgements, or his stories.
The vitality of art in Regina does constitute an unusual phenomenon... five such fired up artists would amount to a lot in New York, let alone in a city of 125,000...
Quotes on Art
Everything that I painted between 1902 and 1908 was destroyed along the way. It was the most difficult period of my life, but I guess that all painters have to go through it. It is the time when you're under the influence of something; then comes the transition period, and the creative part.
Symbolism is an automatic creation but it is not universal and its importance is only established when it has become meaningful to the viewer.
The unity of a work of art must correspond with, and reveal, the essential order of nature. Here, the truth of art and life converge; each draws nourishment and strength from the other.
A work of art exists for what it says to us, not for what it said to the people of its "own" day, nor even necessarily for what it said, consciously, to its author.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
There is no greater error in the study of human things than to believe that the search for what is essential must lead us to what is hidden.
It is my job, as an artist, to be misunderstood.
Works of art produce different associations and different emotions in people, and this leads the less thoughtful to see art as subjective, and the less perceptive to see it as political. But the thoughts and feelings provoked by art are just byproducts of its principle effect which is intuitive. Sadly, most talk of the spiritual in art is a misguided attempt to pass off emotional responses (or motivations) as separate from the ego. And most talk of art's other fundamental aspect, its social function, mistakenly assumes interpretation and knowledge as necessary to appreciation.