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Jack Shadbolt: Legacy Upon Legacy

Jack Shadbolt Escape to Light 1965/1998 Courtesy of Equinox Gallery

The late Jack Shadbolt (1909–1998) represented Canada in many ways during his lifetime—as a soldier and war artist, as an exhibitor at the 28th Venice Biennale and as the first teacher at the modernist painting hotbed of Emma Lake. Shadbolt also had a significant impact on Canadian art production, heading painting and drawing at the Vancouver School of Art for 20 years and co-founding the Vancouver Institute for Visual Arts with his wife, Doris Shadbolt—all the while maintaining a prolific creative practice.

So although Shadbolt was born in England and trained in New York and Paris, it’s understandable that he’s regarded as one of Canada’s most important artists. Now, to mark the centenary of Shadbolt’s birth, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery has organized “Jack Shadbolt: Underpinnings,” an exhibition of over 150 drawings, sketches and archival materials from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Many of the works in “Underpinnings” pick up on the themes of environment, First Nations and social conflicts that appeared and reappeared throughout Shadbolt’s practice. Studies for a large-scale mural work are also included. The exhibition at the Belkin, which runs all summer, is complemented for the month of May by an exhibition of Shadbolt works at Equinox Gallery. The result is an art historical legacy well worth bringing into the present day. (1825 Main Mall, Vancouver BC)

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