Celebrating Community With New Fall Exhibitions at the Whyte Museum: Tom Willock and Bow Biennial
Updated: Oct 25
This fall, the Whyte Museum's exhibitions are a celebration of community, and a successful opening on Friday, October 20th exemplified just that.
Tom Willock: Celebrating and Exception Photographer and Bow Biennial: Four Unique Perspectives, featuring four Alberta artists Amy Dryer, Wanda Ellerbeck, Barb Fyvie, and Eillen Murray, are hosted at the Whyte Museum until January 21st, 2024.
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About the Exhibitions
Tom Willock: Celebrating an Exceptional Photographer
In A Celebration of Tom Willock, a selection of his work captures the grandeur of his craft and his intimate connection to the mountainscapes, highlighting his distinct style and great passion for the natural world. For his photograph entitled "Dawn Mist Falls," Tom hiked for days foraging through streams to capture this image, his keen eye capturing the quiet stillness of the light hitting a cluster of leaves at just the right moment. Each of these photographs is a thoughtful capture; when the light is perfect and the scene reveals itself beautifully for just a fleeting moment in time.
“My sense of myself is inseparable from the land. My photographs have no purpose, no intention beyond truthful expression… For each of us, the expressive print will hold its own meaning and beauty,” Tom explains in his 2003 biography.
Tom Willock was raised in southern Alberta and attended the University of Alberta where he received a bachelor of science, going on to complete his master’s in science from Carleton University in Ottawa. He began his career in natural history and photography at the National Museum of Natural Sciences. Tom began photographing using a large format camera, creating his traditional black-and-white images of waterfalls, rivers, mountain peaks, flora, and fauna.
Tom was the director of the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery from 1978 to 1998. Since 1999, he, along with his wife Susan, have run the Willock and Sax Art Gallery. It was first in Waterton National Park before eventually relocating the gallery to Banff National Park, where he currently lives and works with his wife Susan Sax-Willock.
Tom has published several articles for science, art, and history, and is the author of A Prairie Coulee published in 1990. He has had over 30 solo and group exhibitions and has been invited to lecture on photography and the natural sciences worldwide. His work is owned locally and internationally.
Bow Biennial: Four Unique Perspectives
As we focus on our local community this fall, we bring back the Bow Biennial. This has traditionally reoccurred every two years here at the Whyte Museum and with a short pause due to the pandemic, we are happy to bring it back for our fall exhibition!
Bow Biennial: Four Unique Perspectives highlights four artists from Alberta, Amy Dryer, Wanda Ellerbeck, Barb Fyvie, and Eileen Murray who have their own unique style of creating art. All share the same sense of place in their work expressed in distinctly different ways.
Amy Dryer’s style is reminiscent of German Expressionism, with her gestural style conveying everyday experiences through line, form, and colour. The distortion and perspective of the view give a feeling of familiarity.
Wanda Elllerback’s work has evolved from expressive dance to painting. In her approach, she is never sure where the ideas are coming from, but they seem to be attached to memory and a sense of place. She starts with simple colour, with shapes emerging and conceptually working through the piece.
Barb Fyvie explores the relationship between humans and their interaction with the wilderness through a conceptual style of painting. Her paintings are an expression of how it feels to be in the forest. Barb likes to experiment with the endless possibilities of what can be put on a canvas in an attempt to convey a feeling rather than a visual representation of what has been experienced.
Eillen Murray’s works walk the fine line between fine art and decoration, both influencing her craft with trending colours and vintage textures revolving around the domestic space. Murray explains, “Within my research-based practice, I play as a form of contemporary inquiry with representations of domesticity as well as domestic items within current home renovation and decorating trends. My interests include modes of representation that are commonly associated with the baroque period including, theatricality, bravado, and material excess.”
Gallery 1: Fall 2023 exhibition opening at the Whyte Museum. Photos by Katie Goldie.