By Jerelyn Craden
A bright, sunny, spring day matched the enthusiasm and attendance for the landscape artist Alex Jack’s exhibit and artist talk, Drawing in Landscape, at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery (AJG) on Saturday, April 2. All seats were taken in the Welch room after attendees had arrived early to take in Jack’s impressive body of work, with 40 pieces on display, then buzzed in anticipation of his 20-minute talk.
AJG relief staff, Val Wallin and Nadine Papp, opened with remarks about the gallery’s rich history and its collection of more than 100 works by André Lapine (1866-1952), one of Canada’s foremost artists. Heartfelt thanks were given for the exemplary work of former curator, Laurie Carmount. Then, Jack took to the podium and began.
“To me, one of the great attractions of drawing is it’s a very unstable medium. It’s a very fluid medium changing very, very quickly and that can go along with the change of response that I hadn’t experienced when I’m out in nature,” Jack said. “I do find I get the best results when I approach things without having any plan. Things will happen. Taking the risk that it’s going to be an outright failure is the only way to get something good in my experience.”
Jack explained that when he is outside in nature he commits to starting and finishing a drawing.
“I can’t remember the last time I did any reworking in the studio, but some of the larger ones require it.”
Sometimes he will do a drawing in “a very rough manner,” bring it back to his studio and, “see if there’s enough in it to sustain my interest to work it on a larger scale.”
Creating something good has proven to be far better than that for Jack, whose drawings dating from 1975 to 2021 line the walls of the AJG, drawing much praise from visitors. In fact, one of the questions asked by an audience member was, “Can we buy any of the work that’s in the exhibit?” to which Jack humbly replied, “yes.”
After staying in the Welch Room to interact with those who wanted a closer connection to him, Jack made his way to the main room of the gallery. Alone with his work, he walked slowly around the room surveying and remembering the challenges and breakthroughs of each piece.
“It’s nice to see them all together,” he said. “It’s not very often that I get to see a big section of my work that spans 45 years in one location in a professional gallery setting. It’s very gratifying to have the opportunity to see connections and developments, and the differences that have happened over the years, but also things that have stayed constant.”
Asked if seeing the display gave him a sense of pride, Jack smiled and said, “Yes. Yes, it does.”
By the time the last visitor had gone, three of Jack’s works had been sold.
For more information regarding the artwork of Alex Jack or to contact him, please send a query to: firstname.lastname@example.org.