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Other titles in the Art in Profile series:
Spirit Matters: Ron (Gyo-Zo) Spickett, Artist, Poet, Lay-Priestby Geoffrey Simmins
Synopses & Reviews
Ronald Spickett (1926– ) is a Calgary-based artist, poet, and Zen Buddhist lay priest. During his long career, he also taught studio art, both at the Alberta College of Art and Design and at the University of Calgary. Spirit Matters will complement a fall 2009 exhibition to be held at the Nickle Arts Museum, for which author Geoffrey Simmins is guest curator.
Today, Ronald Spickett, also known by his Buddhist name of Gyo-Zo, is best known for a series of ambitious paintings he executed during the 1960s, paintings with Western themes such as posses and riders. However, the scope of Spickett’s work proved to be much more diverse, and includes genre paintings, landscapes, non-representational paintings, sculptures, and paintings with religious and spiritual themes. The artist’s work, as Simmins’ study shows, is not easily pigeon-holed; Spickett is more than a Western artist, more than a Buddhist artist, more than simply the sum of his paintings. Rather, Simmins argues, he is an “ideas-based” artist whose work reveals complexities and undercurrents that link him with the prevailing artistic currents of his times, yet also testify to his originality and unique style.
Simmins was granted complete access to the artist’s personal and professional papers and interviewed him on numerous occasions. Thus the artist’s own statements on his life and work make an invaluable contribution to Spirit Matters, and are considered alongside critical writings, broader studies in Canadian art history, and still larger currents in Canadian artistic and intellectual life.
Book News Annotation:
Although published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Nickle Arts Museum (Calgary, Canada), September 2009, this volume is more than a catalog in its presentation of the multiple facets of an artist whose career spans 60 years. Based in Calgary, Ronald Spickett (b.1926) --he's also known by his Buddhist name of Gyo-Zo--created an ambitious series of paintings during the 1960s, but that better-known work is only a small fraction of his creative output. His writings and his art as he became engaged with Zen Buddhism offer a rich resource of ideas and inspiration for artists, students, and scholars. Simmins (fine arts, U. of Calgary) draws on his personal association and interviews with the artist as well personal and professional papers and interviews with friends, students, and associates to present Gyo-Zo's works as well as an in-depth portrait of the artist as family man, Buddhist lay-priest and poet, and teacher. Distributed by Michigan State U. Press. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Ronald Spickett (1926 - ) is a Calgary-based artist, poet, and Zen Buddhist lay priest. During his long career, he also taught studio art, both at the Alberta College of Art and Design and at the University of Calgary. Spirit Matters will complement a fall 2009 exhibition to be held at the Nickle Arts Museum, for which author Geoffrey Simmins is guest curator
About the Author
Geoffrey Simmins is Associate Dean, Research and Planning, at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Fine Arts, where he has taught since 1988. His publications include both contemporary and historical books, exhibition catalogs, numerous encyclopedia articles, and videos on Canadian art and architectural history.
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