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 Richard Borthwick Gorman  (1935 - 2010)

About: Richard Borthwick Gorman
 

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: abstract figure and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
FIGURE SEATED ON A STOOL
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Richard Borthwick Gorman RCA (1935 – 2010)

A prominent Canadian painter, printmaker, draftsman, graphic artist, sculptor and educator, Richard Gorman was born in Ottawa, Ontario and died in Toronto, Ontario. His life and work are discussed in most Canadian art history books written since the late 1960s. His art is collected by many major Canadian museums. (1)

His mediums included oils, acrylics, watercolors, Lucite 44, charcoal, pen & ink, Conte crayon*, graphite, collage*, monoprint*, etching*, lithography*, serigraph*, woodcut*, magnetic drawing (applied on paper with a paint covered ball-bearing manipulated with a magnet), mixed mediums, aluminum sculptures, assemblage* (e.g. cigar box constructions), masks, color photocopy, found objects*, experimental film, and happenings*. His subjects included landscapes, portraits, figures, still life, humor, allegory*, metaphor, spirituality, and pure abstraction – line, shape, texture, color. His styles were Abstract Expressionism*, Action Painting*, Color Field Painting*, Dada*, Expressionism*, Fauvism*, Minimalism* and Plein Air Painting*. AskART images have some good illustrations of his oeuvre. (2)

Gorman graduated from the Ontario College of Art*, Toronto (1954 – 1958) where he studied under Jock (J.W.G.) MacDonald. Gorman taught at the Three Schools of Art*, Toronto (1971 – 1972); the Ottawa School of Art (1971 – 1989); and at the University of Ottawa (1972 – 1989). (3)

He exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists* (1965); the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1960, 1964, and 1976); the Spring Show of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1961 and 1962); the First Biennial Winnipeg Show, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1962); the Seventh International Black and White Exhibition, Lugano, Switzerland (1962); and the Paris Biennial, Paris, France (1966).

Gorman’s works have been featured in numerous important themed group exhibitions such as “Five Canadians”, Art Gallery of Toronto [now Art Gallery of Ontario] (1961); “Nineteen Canadian Painters”, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (1962); “Arts of Canada”, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan (1963); “Prize Winners, 1908 – 1965 Spring Exhibitions”, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1967); “Painting in Canada”, Expo 67, Montreal (1967); “Toronto Painting: 1953 – 1965”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1972); “Toronto Painting of the 1960s”, Art Gallery of Ontario (1983); “The Crisis of Abstraction in Canada: The ‘50s”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1993); “In the Wilds: Canoeing and Canadian Art”, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario (1998); “Plan B: the Catherine Morrissey Gift”, Museum London, Ontario (2000); “The Single Tree”, Museum London, Ontario (2000); “Urge to Abstraction”, The Varley Art Gallery, Markham, Ontario (2007); and “Abstract Painting in Canada”, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax (2008). (4)

Gorman was the subject of the solo exhibition “Naked Eye: Richard Gorman” at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario (1990) and of the survey exhibition “Richard Gorman: Pure Painting” at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario (1996).

His works have also been featured in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries such as the Blue Barn Gallery, Ottawa; Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto; Gallery Massot Loranger, Montreal; Isaacs Gallery, Toronto (his first solo – 1959); Jerrold Morris Gallery, Toronto; Lake Galleries, Toronto; Loranger Gallery, Toronto; Moore Gallery, Hamilton; Morris Gallery, Toronto; and Nancy Poole's Studio, Toronto. 

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Gorman’s works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Northumberland (Cobourg, Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Ottawa Art Gallery (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Victoria & Albert Museum (London, England), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

Gorman’s awards and honors include First Prize at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Show (1961), an Ontario Arts Council grant (1976), four Canada Council* grants (1976, 1978, 1980 and 1981) and election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1976).
 
Footnotes:
(1) Gorman took a four month trip through Morocco and Spain (including a stay on Ibiza) in 1964; and he lived in Sussex, England (near London) from 1966 to 1971, where he worked as a graphic artist. On returning to Canada he settled in Ottawa, and then relocated to Toronto in 1989. Source: A Concise History of Canadian Painting 3rd edition (2012), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references) and Richard Gorman: Pure Painting (1996), by Liz Wylie (see AskART book references).

(2) In 1965, Gorman along with Gordon Rayner, Dennis Burton, Harold Town and Walter Yarwood organized a ‘happening’ at the Art Gallery of Toronto, which was attended by more than two thousand people. Source: Pages 83 – 84, Contemporary Canadian Art (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff (see AskART book references).

(3) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography and its footnotes have their own records in AskART.

(4) The other members of the “Five Canadians” exhibition were Francoise Andre, Charles Stegeman, Marion Greenstone, and Robert Hedrick. Source: Art Gallery of Ontario Research Library & Archives.
 
Sources:
A Concise History of Canadian Painting 3rd edition (2012), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references)

The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century (2010), by Brian Foss, Anne Whitelaw and Sandra Paikowsky (see AskART book references)

Abstract Painting in Canada (2008), by Roald Nasgaard (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada” (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century (1999), by Joan Murray (see AskART book references)

Confessions of a Curator: Adventures in Canadian Art (1996), by Joan Murray (see AskART book references)

Richard Gorman: Pure Painting (1996), by Liz Wylie (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G – K (1988), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry (see AskART book references)

Visions – Contemporary Art in Canada (1983), edited by Robert Bringhurst, et al. (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Canadian Art (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

The History of Painting in Canada – Toward a Peoples Art (1974), by Barry Lord (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art Today (1970), by William Townsend (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume Two, G – Jackson (1970), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

Obituary – “The wise man of Canadian abstract painting made his mark right to the end of a bravura career”, by Betty Ann Jordan, Globe and Mail, September 8, 2010

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art*

Art Gallery of Ontario Research Library & Archives

Art Gallery of Northumberland

Christopher Cutts Gallery (CV)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com. Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.
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