Ivan Eyre, "Umber Knoll," 2002, acrylic on canvas, 56" x 64".
By Amy Karlinsky
Ivan Eyre was born in Tullymet, Saskatchewan, in 1935. He studied with some of the best known art teachers at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba's School of Art. He was a painting and drawing professor at the University of Manitoba until 1993 and he has had an enduring influence on many students. His works are synonymous with the prairies. Particularly iconic are his paintings of the lush forested river banks of Manitoba. These views, with the landscape elements of trunk, limb, branch and leaf meticulously rendered, are often strangely ethereal. They are beautiful and full of foreboding.
Eyre, however, is known for more than just these majestic landscapes. Sometimes the conflicting elements of a contemporary urban and alienated consciousness take centre stage. Here portraiture, shards and fragments of the built environment, and landscape elements have been inspired by his recollections of the land, and cities. Works like these are suggestive of the larger influence of the imagist arm of Surrealism.
Known primarily for two-dimensional works in graphite, crayon, etchings, linocuts and paintings, Eyre has recently turned to bronze sculpture. Eyre was elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1974. He received the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal in 1977 and the University of Manitoba Alumni Jubilee Award in 1982.
Ivan Eyre's works are included in many private and public collections in Canada and abroad. Most significantly, homage has been paid to Ivan Eyre in the most public and accessible of all venues in Winnipeg: the Pavilion Gallery in Assiniboine Park, making him one of only three artists to be celebrated in such a fashion. The Pavilion Gallery includes a permanent installation of Eyre's work, based on a rotating collection of almost 200 paintings and 5,000 drawings. Eyre's new work will be featured at the Loch Gallery in Winnipeg this fall.