Tuesday 10 August 2010

Healing (c. 1990s) Norval Morrisseau - Jack Pollock Stories (1966 to 1994)

Norval Morrisseau
Ink on rag paper, c. 1990s

- Painter finds art in sickroom -
Jack Pollock's Sunnybrook Collection
Ottawa Citizen - March 6 1982

Now freed from the responsibilities of his own gallery Pollock intends to paint seriously for the next 20 years. He also would like to do a television program about art, aimed at viewers with no previous background. Pollock, who was clinically dead for two days after his operation makes a good case for "Art Is Life".

Nancy Baele
Excerpt from the Ottawa Citizen article

AIDS sufferer helps patients
add color to walls of Sunnybrook

The mural isn't all that Pollock has done for Sunnybrook. In 1982, when he was a patient in the same ward, there was no VCR. So he did a painting and had tickets made up; the patients sold the tickets to doctors and nurses. Enough money was raised to buy a VCR.

Born in Toronto, Pollock has lots of memories. He opened his first gallery in 1960 and was a fixture on the Toronto art scene in the late '50s and '60s. He has discovered dozens of artists, including native genius Norval Morrisseau, gave artists like Ken Danby and Charles Pachter their first showings, and has held exhibitions by the likes of Andy Warhol, William de Kooning and David Hockney.

Stasia Evasuk
Excerpt from an article in Toronto Star
Jul 7, 1990

 Unnatural fear tackled at seminar

Jack Pollock is infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS and told a seminar at the Addiction Research Foundation marking AIDS Awareness Week in Ontario, that people coping with AIDS are looking for assistance that doesn't take away their dignity, nor their judgment. Awareness week was marked Oct. 15 to 19.

Thirty per cent of the doctors and dentists in Toronto won't treat HIV patients, "and it's not because they fear contact with an AIDS patient, but they're afraid their other patients will learn about the AIDS patient and not return to the doctor," Pollock said.

Pat Brennan
Excerpt from an article in Toronto Star
Oct 27, 1990

Pollock dies at 62 of AIDS-related illness

Perhaps his most famous discovery was native painter Norval Morrisseau. [Jack Pollock] was teaching art in Northern Ontario in 1962 when Morrisseau - who painted on birch bark - came into his class. After Morrisseau demanded $5 for each of his paintings, he agreed to let Pollock exhibit them and the show made more than $3,000.

Exerpt from the Kitchener - Waterloo Record
Dec 12, 1992


Jack Pollock keeps wild eye on art
Ottawa Citizen - Apr 14, 1978

Canada needs more Jack Pollocks. It needs erratic adventuresome investors in our future. Pollock has taken chances in art when he couldn't afford to. Luckily the rest of the art community soon caught up.

Kathleen Walker
Ottawa Citizen arts Editor

Canada's Art Book of the Year
Ottawa Citizen, Dec 11, 1979

French Edition
Montreal Gazette
Nov 21, 1981

Jack Pollock

NOT EVEN death has diminished Jack Pollock's ability to attract attention. The flamboyant art dealer and painter died late in 1992 after a career that alternated between great success and abject failure. Tomorrow at 3 p.m., CBC-TV will broadcast a half-hour portrait of the late Pollock as part of its Canadian Reflections series.

Christopher Hume
Toronto Star
Feb 03, 1994

TELFORD FENTON (1932-2004)
Oil on Canvas - Dated 1980
Along with Norval, Jack Pollock also represented other noteworthy, flamboyant artists, including Telford Fenton. Telford was uniquely positioned in the Toronto art scene. He would fall into a psychic trance at a certain point in a project in order to create a portrait of both the subject and their aura. The images above are of Telford's art circa 1980.

Telford was apparently a big "fan" of Norval. One night Jack appeared with a stretched 48" by 72" life-size portrait of Norval, channeled by Telford, who then gave it to Jack to give to Norval as a gift. Jack passionately told us his story of the incredible experience Telford had in creating this special portrait for Norval and of how significant and innovative Telford was as an artist.

Norval politely accepted Telford's gift, expertly "sold" to him by Jack. I can vividly recall the jovial spirit of the evening. Norval razzing Jack. Jack charming Norval. Two storytellers doing their thing while this strange, impressionistic painting of Norval's head floats before us in a netherworld of off-key colours, loaded thick with oil paint.

The next day Telford's painting sat out, front and centre, staring at us. Norval began to make fun of it. Another day went by with a few more Jokes and remarks about the psychic artist. Soon repeating Jack's accolades about Telford became Norval's favourite pastime. I won't repeat some of the things he was saying. Suffice it to say he didn't like his wonky head emerging out of a toxic soup. After a week Norval decided that he was going to "fix it up a bit".

Over the course of a few more days, little by little, "fixing it up a bit" became the whole painting, with the exception of his head. Norval fixed it up with acrylics, so he was left with an oil painting of a "head" surrounded by acrylic paint. It looked bizarre.

Then Jack showed up again.

Norval actually tried to hide the painting when he realized that Jack might see it, but it didn't work. When Jack saw Telford's painting he was aghast! He said that the painting was worth $10,000 and that Telford would be heart-broken. He said no artist was ever permitted to touch another artist's work! It was beyond comprehension. Norval just grumbled about vomit and psychics.

Norval kept his gift from Telford Fenton and eventually cut his head out of the canvass and threw out the rest. Every once in a while I'd see it appear here, in a bathroom, or there, in a kitchen. An oval cut-out piece of canvass of a wonky Norval Morrisseau face.

Ah...the good old days... I can't recall... but I bet Jack never told Telford about Norval's indiscretion.


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