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David Burnett.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, c1983.
Distributed by McClelland and Stewart.
272pp., paper, $50.00 (cloth), $24.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-7710-1777-4 (cloth), 0-7710-1778-2 (paper).

Grades 11 and up

Reviewed by James Kingstone.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

The publication of David Burnett's study of the work of artist Alex Colville entitled simply Colville, offers a warm, valuable companion to the artist's recent retrospective, seen over the summer at the Art Gallery of Ontario and now travelling in Germany. Colville has been with us for some time, and the Burnett study and the retrospective should occasion reflection and celebration. For many years Colville lurked about on the threshold of commercial and critical acclaim, but many will be astonished at the volume of his work. While a few pictures have become inseparable from the Canadian experience, so well-known are they, (Horse and Train for instance) the book is an important addition because it conveys the steady, disciplined unfolding of Colville's talent in a clear and gentle way.

Burnett's study is distinguished by fine and delightful reproductions, an intimate portrait of the man and his methodology and eminently readable probings of his major works. The author has shaped his work, and though it is not by any means exhaustive, it is a book that can be read in an afternoon, one that allows the reader to feel that Colville's work can be grasped whole in the imagination. It has sometimes been felt that Colville's vision lies disturbingly beyond reach, his stiffened existential posture resistant to one's searching gaze; but Burnett makes him accessible, and sometimes cozily so, a not insubstantial achievement.

James Kingstone, Ridley College, St. Catherines, ON.
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