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Text by Eric Cameron

Images of Jeffrey Spalding's
Neues Bild (Rotunda, Winnipeg) 1976/2009

Newton's Prism: Layer Painting

Spalding's Layer Painting

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Jeffrey Spalding

Click here to download images of Spalding's past work (4.1 MB PDF)

Jeffrey Spalding is an artist, writer and curator.

Works by the artist are held in the principal public collections in Canada including the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, The Canadian Embassy, Washington, Art Gallery of Alberta, Glenbow Museum, Banff Centre, University of Lethbridge, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, among others.

His art works are chronicled in numerous historical survey texts such as Canadian Art from its Beginnings to 2000 by Anne Newlands and Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century by Joan Murray among others. His art has made contributions to exhibitions and developments in art from 1969 to present. Throughout, he has maintained a practice exploring simultaneously, post-conceptual abstraction as well as image-based narrative paintings that arise from this legacy.

Spalding's early seventies video works were the subject of an exhibition by the Art Gallery of Ontario and included in a 2009 Tate Gallery survey of pioneering video from Britain, Canada and Poland.

The austere black paintings (1973-75) and reductivist 'diary' (layer) paintings (1975 to present) are included in many public collections.

They are featured in the monograph, Abstract Painting in Canada by Roald Nasgaard, and currently showcased as part of the national touring exhibition concerning conceptualism in Canada. His works are often cited as being seminal inspirations generating a proliferation of procedural layer painters. An ongoing installation layer painting wall-work, Neues Bild- Rotunda is continually added to and on view at the University of Manitoba.

He was an early adherent to central image painting in the late seventies and early eighties. By 1984, Spalding was acknowledged as a leading force in the resurgence of Romantic landscape painting. These dark, brooding works are featured in many public collections, including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, on view at the Jubilee Auditorium and the National Gallery of Canada.

Commencing in 1977, Spalding periodically converted and updated his prior art via a series of parasitic alterations. In the mid-eighties, he began scouring junk stores seeking abandoned amateur paintings, subjecting them to revisions and 'corrections'. Paradoxically, these 'salvage' paintings conjoin his interest in romantic themes and deconstructive critique of his own as well as art's history. It is an ongoing project.

Spalding has served as Director at major art museums, including Glenbow Museum, University of Lethbridge, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Anna Leonowens Gallery -- NSCAD, and Appleton Museum of Art, Florida. Spalding is author of numerous books, articles and catalogues on art and organizer of countless historical, contemporary and thematic art exhibitions internationally. He curated Canada’s visual art entry for Expo 93 Korea and makes contributions to museum catalogues, notably: Max Ernst (For Montreal Museum of Fine Art and Phoenix Art Museum); Jean-Paul Riopelle (for Montreal Museum of Fine Art, traveled to the Hermitage and to France); Eric Cameron (for the Tate); Chris Pratt (for National Gallery of Canada), Takao Tanabe (for Vancouver Art Gallery and national tour); Gerhard Richter; Claude Tousignant, Garry Kennedy, to name but a few.

Spalding was President, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (2007-2010), recipient of the Alberta College of Art and Design Board of Governors Award of Excellence (1992) and awarded the Order of Canada (2007).