Past Exhibitions

B.C. Binning

January 13 to April 29, 2007

The Coffee Drinkers
B.C. Binning
Convoy at Rendezvous, 1948
oil on canvas
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery,
Bequest of C.S. Band
Photo: Jim Gorman, Vancouver Art Gallery

The B.C. Binning exhibition presents a survey of approximately 50 works by Bertram Charles Binning, one of Canada's foremost artists, architectural innovators and arts educators, as well as a seminal figure in the arts in British Columbia. From the late 1930s through the mid-1970s, B.C. Binning was at the forefront of west coast art.

Binning built an international reputation as a draftsman and drawing was always of paramount importance in his work. He turned to oil painting at the end of the 1940s. The first paintings were of nautical themes, characterized by reduced colour and the use of the painting's flatness as a structural element. Binning's paintings reflect his dual interest in classicism and modernism-they are linear, ordered and architectural in their rendering, but with an inner radiance and joy that comes straight from the artist's enjoyment and celebration of life. His later paintings became stylized seascapes as he moved "from the particular to the general" and, by the 1960s, he was painting purely abstract forms, seeking to express what he called "the great quiet spatial ideas."

Drawn from the Vancouver Art Gallery's collection, this exhibition presents key examples of Binning's drawings and paintings and reflects his enduring interest in architecture through the inclusion of maquettes for large mural projects Binning undertook for public buildings in the Greater Vancouver area.

The exhibition builds on a new book, B.C. Binning, on the life and work of Binning published by Douglas & McIntyre in March 2006, with texts by Abraham J. Rogatnick, Ian M. Thom and Adele Weder. The exhibition will travel to the Kelowna Art Gallery from June 16 to September 8, 2007 and to the Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George from September 27 to December 2, 2007 as part of the Gallery's provincial touring program.

Organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, senior curator, historical.