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An Art at the Mercy of Light: Recent Works by Eli Bornstein


June 14 to September 15, 2013

Curated by Winnipeg art historian Oliver Botar, An Art at the Mercy of Light is an exploration of structure, colour, space, and light through the work of Eli Bornstein. One of the province’s most influential artists for more than five decades, Bornstein is recognized internationally for his pioneering work with abstract reliefs.

Born in Milwaukee, Bornstein studied art in Chicago and Paris, and received his art degree from the University of Wisconsin. He moved to Saskatoon in 1950 to teach in the University of Saskatchewan Fine Arts Program, where he made significant contributions as a scholar, lecturer, and writer.

Bornstein is best known for his Structurist reliefs. His early drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures were based on nature, and later incorporated abstract and Cubist techniqes. During a sabbatical in Italy and Holland in 1957, Bornstein experimented with reliefs using colour, form, and space. Over the course of his career, his works have progressed in complexity, and the reliefs exhibit subtle shifts in colour under changing light conditions.

Bornstein has participated in solo and group shows in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His works are represented in numerous private and public collections. Major works were commissioned for the International Air Terminal in Winnipeg (1962), the Wascana Centre Authority building in Regina (1982), and the Canadian Light Source building in Saskatoon (2004), among others.

Bornstein is still actively producing art. This exhibition contextualizes his ongoing practice in relation to both early Modernist movements and the current revival of perceptual and experiential art. The exhibition also calls attention to Bornstein’s singular achievement as editor and publisher of Canada’s longest-running art journal, The Structurist (1960-2010).

Exhibition Catalogue for An Art at the Mercy of Light: Recent Works by Eli Bornstein will be available for purchase September 12, 2013.

Many issues of The Structurist are available in the Gift shop.

An Art at the Mercy of Light is sponsored by Mine Supply Company.

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