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  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
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  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
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  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
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  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
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  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
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  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
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  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
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  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
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  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
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  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
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  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
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  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
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  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
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  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
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  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
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  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
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  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
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  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
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Toni Onley

By Robert Amos May 17, 2004

} Toni Onley By Robert Amos Until his recent death in an airplane mishap, Toni Onley was perhaps the most public artist in this province. Everyone here recognizes his name and most people know at least part of his story. His career was long and his output prolific. Onley was news. A short man, his exploits seemed larger than life. He faced down the government and threatened to burn his inventory when the taxation department persisted in trying to tax his paintings before they were sold. When he crashed his plane for the first time, it came to rest suspended by its wingtips over a glacier crevasse. Onley was the first artist in our region to drive a Rolls Royce. It was possible to resent this fame - after all, he made paintings that looked easy. He was known for his small watercolours, horizontal in format, featuring distant elements of the landscape. When circumstances were right, he could paint three in an afternoon. Thousands of these watercolours were painted “on the spot”, their locations and dates noted in the lower margin. In the course of reviewing many of his shows, I too have at times been tempted to discount his achievements. I’ve tried to reduce what he did to a formula. But, let me assure you, after careful and repeated examinations, I have found Onley’s paintings brilliantly crafted and perennially surprising. Furthermore, I have never before seen such a fine selection of Onley’s paintings as this memorial retrospective. It was “hand picked” by Gunter Heinrich, Onley’s longtime dealer and now the agent of his artistic estate. Heinrich has been given a free hand. Surveying just about everything not already sold, he has brought out a “greatest hits” collection spanning the length and breadth of Onley’s career. Thanks to the publication last year of Onley’s biography, Flying Colours (Gregory Strong, Harbour Publishing), we are able to view his many phases in sequence and context. Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man. By the time he emigrated to Canada in 1948 his destiny as an artist was already formed. The earliest of the 93 items in this show is an oil from 1958. Entirely abstract, it is a souvenir of his artistic evolution at San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Nothing of Onley’s Polar Series from 1962 is available. Those works, assembled from torn fragments of painted canvas, have become sought-after in the auction sale rooms. But Winchester Gallery is deeply committed to abstraction. A number orf small, white Onley panels from 1964 bear only the slightest markings yet even today their austere minimalism has the power to shock. Onley’s early years were studded with honours, prizes and grants. In 1978 a retrospective of his work was presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery, including 314 works! It seems paradoxical that at that point, when his work had been collected by the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Canada and the Library of Congress in Washington, he would change his style. After 1980 his works were generally small in scale and representational rather than abstract. Predominantly the current show presents the later watercolours, 46 in all. With many hundred to choose from, Heinrich has selected pieces each of which is dramatic, incisive and appealing. A few have strong foreground elements - a fence, a cabin, a stand of trees in stark silhouette. Always evident is Onley’s uncanny brush play. He can draw our attention from a windblown mountain ridge down the sunny glacier slope to meltwater in a pool below - all in a single brush stroke. His dramatic and ambiguous skyscapes never relax into a formula. The British watercolour landscape tradition was reborn in Onley: topographic subjects, transparent watercolours, and a romantic mood. Like a true Victorian adventurer, he painted the Arctic, Japan, India, Georgian Bay and, in profusion, views of his beloved West Coast. Winchester is particularly intersted in Onley’s oils. Of the 15 on show, most are paintings derived from his favourite sketches. Heinrich says there were very few oils left in the studio, a fact which attests to their popularity. Onley’s considerable skills were constantly honed back in his studio. His distintive italic handwriting was just one facet of his interest in Chinese and Japanese brushwork. The practice of this artform entails considerable “waste” of paper. Onley had the utmost respect for the fine materials he chose and thus elements for collage were abundant. He pasted down fragments of journals, written characters and the odd attractive brushstroke, leaving a playful record of his concerns beyond the landscape. Winchester has kept the prices of this show in line with Onley’s last exhibit there. And considering the quantity of work on hand, I don’t expect his prices will immediately skyrocket. Frankly I think he’d want it that way. Onley was a populist. His oils, watercolours, collages, etchings, screen prints, posters, books and cards will long continue to take his vision to the people. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com

Notice Board

SUBMIT View

Current notices

There are no notices at this time.

Today's notices

  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
    View notice

  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
    View notice

  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
    View notice

  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
    View notice

  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
    View notice

  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
    View notice

  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
    View notice

  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
    View notice

  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
    View notice

  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
    View notice

  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
    View notice

  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
    View notice

  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
    View notice

  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
    View notice

  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
    View notice

  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
    View notice

  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
    View notice

  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
    View notice

  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
    View notice

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