A Brush With Greatness | A Creative Kids Fundraiser


After a year of work we are pleased to present, A Brush with Greatness, one of the most unique collections of contemporary art history we have ever amassed. The collection consists of over 60 paintbrushes used by some of the leading figures in contemporary art over the past fifty years. This collection was put together as a fundraiser for our Creative Kids Art Program and this incredible collection will be sold this coming November at Maynards Auctioneers in Vancouver. Last year we featured a small selection of these brushes during the summer and I was amazed at the length of time the public took to examine each of the brushes and read the letters. I have wondered since if the same people would have spent as much time looking at a collection of paintings done by the same artists.

The impetus behind this fundraiser was to find a way I could approach leading contemporary artists and have them contribute to a fundraising event at a gallery located in a city many of them may have never heard of. The challenge was to come up with a creative and fun idea which would appeal to the artists, while not asking the world of them. I hit upon the phrase “A Brush with Greatness” and the rest they say is art history. This exhibition has since evolved from a simple idea for a new fundraiser designed to raise funds for our Creative Kids Art Program into an amazing exhibition and educational opportunity.

What I didn’t anticipate was the incredible response not only from the artists whom I was able to contact, but also from the public as I have slowly introduced this idea by placing a number of the framed brushes in the gallery foyer over the past year. What has emerged was an incredible window into contemporary art history and the development of painting not only in Canada but also internationally over the past fifty years. There is something beguiling about seeing the artist’s tools as it opens a window into their creative process and their life’s work.

While one isn’t viewing the physical paintings done by these artists, many visitors will already be familiar with the works of these famous artists having either seen the pieces in other galleries or through reproductions of the work. The lowly paintbrushes on which this exhibition is based will have witnessed and been the creative partner of each of these artists and are directly responsible for the creation of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of art which currently hangs in public and private collections the world over. Looking at each artist’s brush, it’s not hard to imagine the history each has witnessed and it’s incredible the insightful access gained into each artist’s practice.

This exhibition has been great fun to put together and I am overwhelmed by the response it has garnered and I’m excite to see the legacy this project will leave here at the Penticton Art Gallery. I invite you to come down to the gallery this summer and see this incredible collection. Thank you to Sarah Smith for designing and putting together the catalogue, Glenn Clark for framing up the brushes and all the artists who have believed in the project and have donated a piece of art history in support of our Creative Kids Art program.

 The amazing list of artists whose brushes are included as part of this exhibition and fundraiser include:  Irvine Adams, David T. Alexander, Aelita Andre, Nick Bantock, Marcel Barbeau, Robert Bateman, Mike Bayne, Tony Bennett, Bill Bissett, Bruno Bobak, Molly Lamb Bobak, Ron Bolt, Jeff Bridges, Kate Bright, Romero Britto, Eric Cameron, Chuck Close, Alex Colville, Ken Danby, Duncan De Kergommeaux, Louis de Niverville, Judith Foster, Robert Genn, Graham Gillmore, April Gornik, Libby Hague, John Hall, Joice Hall, Ted Harrison, Patrick Hughes, Everett Kinstler, Ruth Kligman, Harold Klunder, John Koerner, George Littlechild, Attila Richard Lukacs, Landon Mackenzie, Ron Martin, Tom Miller, Kristine Moran, Mark Mothersbaugh, Daphne Odjig, Toni Onley, Charles Pachter, Ross Penhall, Joseph Plaskett, Eve Plumb, Christopher Pratt, Mary Pratt, Mel Ramos, Philippe Raphanel, Charles Rea, Milly Ristvedt, Gerald Roach, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Tony Scherman, Sean Scully, Jane Seymour, Gordon A. Smith, Jeff Spalding, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Joanne Tod, David Urban, Renee Van Halm, Brian Wood, Chris Woods, Michael Nicoll Yahgulaanas, Robert Young .