Toni Onley: Flight PathsJuly 7, 2006 - July 7, 2006
Curated by Lisa Baldissera Drawn from the collections of the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, the Toni Onley Archive, the BC Art Collection, the Art Gallery’s permanent collection, and private collections, Flight Paths explores the early work of one of BC’s most celebrated artists and the abstract collages and compositions from the 1960s for which he first achieved acclaim.
A fusion of traditional 19th century British watercolour forms, modernist abstraction and oriental brush painting, works from this period are among the most compelling of the artist’s career. Onley immigrated to Canada in 1948 from the UK. His early work was influenced by British painters John Cotman and Peter DeWint whose work fueled his interest in traditional landscapes. In 1957, Onley won a scholarship to the Institute Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he studied mural and fresco painting under the tutelage of Yugoslavian-American painter James Pinto. It was here that Onley began to explore abstraction and embarked on his first series of non-objective work. By the early sixties, he was experimenting with collage paintings and etchings, a selection of which are included in the current exhibition.