Ronald Langley Bloore
1925 - 2009
FCA OC R5 RCA RSC
Born in Brampton, Ontario in 1925, Ronald Bloore is best known as a member of the Regina Five, a group formed through regional connections and by their shared interest in experimentation, rather than common stylistic or nationalistic themes. The group included Kenneth Lochhead, Ted Godwin, Douglas Morton, Arthur McKay and Bloore, all of whom were based in Regina, Saskatchewan and practicing contemporary art. Bloore’s work was extremely individual, and followed a consistent path throughout his career.
Strongly influenced by his interest in archaeology and travels to Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Spain as well as Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, his work references antiquities and ruins both in feeling and by way of material structure. The Mediterranean was especially influential for him. Bloore worked in oil and enamel on Masonite - a rigid and strong surface that allowed him to build up multiple layers of finely toned and subtly varied paint - and with watercolour and Sumi ink on paper, often employing collage elements in his precisely detailed work.
Bloore was fastidious, exploring his idea for each work fully before executing it, using a vocabulary of Neolithic geometric forms that were rooted in his training as an archaeologist, and using his knowledge of that field and of art history to generate ideas. He is best known for works that employ a vast array of subtly textured whites, but over the course of his long career he would also create works that explored other colours and colour contrasts, including the Dark Chocolate series from the last few years of his life. He also used the enlarged shape of a spoon as a support in a group of works he called Sploores.
Bloore’s approach was that of the intellectual - he studied at the Courtauld Institute and Brixton Day College in London, England and he taught at York University, the University of Toronto -where he attained his BA in Art and Archaeology, and at the University of Saskatchewan and at Washington University - where he had received his MA in Art and Archaeology. He was also a prolific writer, writing for exhibition catalogues and producing articles for such publications as artscanada and Canadian Art. York University granted him an Honorary LLD for his distinguished years of service and contribution to Canadian art.
Bloore had an extensive exhibition history which included numerous solo shows. The first of these was held at the Here and Now Gallery in Toronto in 1962, and three decades later Ronald L. Bloore: Not Without Design, organized by the Mackenzie Art Gallery, would travel to five Canadian cities. He served as director of the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery from 1958 until 1966, and during this time brought national and international exhibitions to the City of Regina. In 1959 he met New York artist Barnett Newman at the Emma Lake Workshop and found in him a sympathetic spirit. In 1962 while Bloore was traveling on a Canada Council grant in Greece, critic Clement Greenburg was invited to that summer’s Emma Lake Workshop. Greenburg’s commentary on the art production of the Prairies was highly divisive; validation for some, while others felt that the opinion of a New York critic was not required to affirm their directions in their art. Bloore defended the quality of art over the popularity of a critic.
He was a stanch champion of what he felt to be quality contemporary Canadian art. Bloore served in the RCAF and the Canadian Army in World War II, and is represented in numerous public and corporate collections nationally and internationally.