With our fall exhibition schedule fast approaching, we paid a visit to Ron Shuebrook’s studio in Blandford, Nova Scotia to make some selections. Shuebrook lives in Guelph, Ontario and summers in Nova Scotia. His connection to Nova Scotia began when Shuebrook lived in Annapolis Valley and taught at Acadia University from 1973-1977. In the 1980’s, Shuebrook returned to be on the faculty and head of the Studio Division at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design.
To prepare for his exhibition Shuebrook drove down with a truck of art new and old for us to choose from. The Blandford studio is the former Odd Fellows Lodge hall, a very important community centre. Downstairs, large canvases are propped against the walls, dating from the 1970’s forward. Evident in many is the signature Shuebrook “Monkey Rope” form, derived from many readings of Melville’s Moby Dick and from the whaling heritage of this part of Nova Scotia. Other paintings integrate strong geometric forms, sometimes laid down in relationship to the Monkey Rope spiral. We chose six large paintings for the Studio 21 exhibition, three from the 1980’s and three new works. Upstairs, Shuebrook has installed a temporary exhibition of smaller work on the white-paneled studio wall.
Visiting with Shuebrook is as much to do with listening as looking. Shuebrook is a raconteur and each story is linked to the intertwining of his many artistic, academic and social connections over the years. His memory at age 74 is acute. As evidence of this, Shuebrook is working on a suite of small paintings documenting each of the 70-some houses in which he has lived. These include 1960’s military housing, university digs, artist-in-residence accommodations and more long-term homes.
Ron Shuebrook is most definitely a grand man of Canadian art. His exhibition that opens October 13, 2017, includes a selection of works from the eighties to now.
Also opening is an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based Canadian abstract artist Jordan Broadworth.