During the course of my graduate studies in Ottawa, Canada, I accepted a part-time job scanning documents and cataloguing numerous paintings and drawings by the Canadian artist Josh Silburt. Born in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, in 1914, Josh Silburt aspired to become an artist from very early on in his life, and went on to produce a lifetime of works representative of Canada’s history and natural wonders.
Through wonderful stories told by his son Allan, I learned of Silburt’s family’s struggles as Jewish immigrants in Canada, and of his coming of age during the Depression era. Later, Silburt’s political cartoons spoke of the time’s political sensitivity, which he struggled to balance with his personal affiliations in order to provide for his young family.
It wasn’t until later in his life that Silburt was able to fully immerse himself in his true passion, and develop the style of pallet-knife wilderness painting for which he is best known. In his work, Canada’s vast nature is depicted in vivid colo rs and enthusiastic gestures, and the harsh Canadian light is carefully rendered to reflect the changing of the seasons.
Dedicated to making sure that his father’s work lives on, Allan Silburt is seeing the result of many years of hard work come to fruition on February 6, 2013, at the launch of a book dedicated to his father’s art, and an exhibition in kind at Ottawa’s Cube Gallery.
“This book presents a broad collection of Josh’s work from his early days as a sports and political cartoonist in the 1930’s and 40’s to his later years as a landscape painter. It moves from black and white drawing to the full breadth of colour of the Canadian wilderness as Josh developed his unique artistic style.”1
I feel honored to have been a part of these efforts, and am proud of introduce only a glimpse of this wonderful Canadian artist.
The Art and Drawing of Josh Silburt runs from February 5 to 17, 2013, at Cube Gallery, in Ottawa, Canada.