Opening Reception Friday September 16, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wilf Perreault | Ruelle D'Amour - A Journey of Love
Jan Nowina-Zarzycki & Rob King | Alley Man
Artist Talk Saturday September 17th ~ 2:00p.m.
This exhibition features a singular work of art entitled, Ruelle D'Amour - A Journey of Love, a 150-foot mural dedicated to the artist's two loves: art and his late wife, Sandi Perreault (1947-2013). The wraparound format was inspired by the oval rooms which display Claude Monet's “Water Lilies” at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. This installation was originally created for the exhibition “In The Alley / Dans La Ruelle” at the Mackenzie Art Gallery. It measures five feet high by one hundred and fifty feet wide, comprising of twenty two canvases and took over two years to create. The panorama encompasses a number of significant sites from the couple's life, including alleys where they grew up (Saskatoon), vacationed (Phoenix), and raised their family together (Regina).
Wilf Perreault was born in 1947 in the small French community of Albertville, Saskatchewan. He grew up in Saskatoon where he first took private art lessons from the renowned Saskatchewan painter Ernest Lindner, his next-door neighbour.
Perreault’s formal art training began at the University of Saskatchewan, where his interest in representational painting conflicted with the New York-style abstraction, prevalent in Saskatchewan at that time. Under the instruction of Otto Rogers and Bill Epp, he instead focused artistic studies on abstract sculpture. After graduation (BFA in 1970, BEd in 1971), Perreault moved to Regina where he taught high school art until the 1980s, when he became a commercial success and that success allowed him to make the decision to change careers and turn his attention to painting full time.
Wilf Perreault has since established himself as one of Saskatchewan's most highly regarded and beloved visual artists. With thoughts of returning to representational painting, he began to search the city of Regina for inspirational subject matter and he stumbled upon his muse in a humble back alley. Stopping to look at the reflection of the sky and buildings in a puddle, he saw, not a typical Regina back lane, but a hidden cityscape which not only captured his imagination it would become the singular subjectin which he would find endless inspiration in.
His work is both a record of how his city has changed over the past forty years and serves as a reminder, a re-imagining, of what we all embrace in a community, from the mysteries of our neighbours, to the warmth, safety and nostalgia of our childhood. They are a celebration of a landscape most often overlooked by the majority of people who pass through them and the resulting paintings lend a new understanding to the commonplace. He finds comparisons between his career as a teacher and his art stating: “Teaching is a bit like painting back-alleys. It's taking an ordinary subject and turning it into something beautiful: taking students who aren't turned on to art and seeing the lights go on for them once they discover art. It's really something wonderful.”
In 1989 Wilf Perreault was chosen to be one of five artists to represent Canada in Les Jeux de la Francophonie in Morocco, where he won the Silver Medal. His work is highly collected across the globe and can be found in the collections of the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Pemberton Houston, Willoughby; Bank of Montreal; The Mercantile Bank; Goldman Sachs and Co., New York; Osler Hoskins, Toronto; Ernst & Young; Touche Ross & Co.; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Saskatchewan Arts Board; Petro-Canada Inc.; Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; the Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta among many others.
He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003. The highlight of his remarkable career so far has been “Wilf Perreault: In the Alley”, a Retrospective Show organized by the Mackenzie Art Gallery which started September 27 and was held over until February 1st, 2015 documenting over 40 years of his work.
Wilf Perreault continues to live and work in Regina, where he thrives on maintaining a strict studio practice.
The exhibition will also feature Jan Nowina-Zarzycki & Rob King’s documentary film The Alley Man, an intimate portrait of Regina-based artist Wilf D. J. Perreault. The film examines Perreault’s extensive work, his popularity with all who look upon it and the artist’s deep and always humble view of his talent and his constantly evolving legacy.
The film was shot over a period of a year and half while Perreault worked on his impressive, 360-degree installation of back lane paintings inspired by Claude Monet’s famous “The Water Lillies” series.