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Alex Colville Life & Work by Ray Cronin
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I knew Alex Colville for fifteen years, at the end of his long life. We talked mostly about philosophy when we met, and occasionally about politics.
He showed me various paintings at different stages of completion and occasionally reminisced about his place in the art world, and that world’s perception of him, which he felt was limited, at best. He was as far from the popular cliché of an artist as every real artist I’ve ever met. He lived his own definition of what it took to make good art—to struggle to produce work that was never commercial, sentimental, or retrograde. That he did, creating some of the finest paintings in Canadian art history.

Ray Cronin

Ray Cronin

Ray Cronin is a writer and curator living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 2001 to 2015 he worked at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, as Curator (2001–7) and as Director and CEO (2007–15). He is the founding curator of the Sobey Art Award. He is currently Vice President of TOTAL Museum and Fine Arts Services, a museum logistics company.

          A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (BFA) and the University of Windsor (MFA), Cronin is the author of numerous catalogue essays as well as articles for Canadian and American art magazines. In 2000 he received the inaugural Christina Sabat Award for Critical Review in the Arts. He was the visual arts columnist for New Brunswick’s Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) and Here (Saint John). As a freelance writer he has published reviews and articles on art for several magazines over a twenty-five-year career.

          Cronin has taught writing for the arts in Fredericton, Ottawa, and Charlottetown, and visual art at the University of Windsor, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and NSCAD University.

          His extensive curatorial projects include retrospective exhibitions of the work of Erica Rutherford, Nancy Edell, Rick Burns, and Thierry Delva as well as the nationally touring exhibitions Graeme Patterson: Woodrow and Arena: The Art of Hockey. He is the author of Marion Wagschal (Battat Contemporary: Montreal, 2010), and he has contributed essays to books on Mary Pratt, John Greer, David Askevold, Graeme Patterson, Colleen Wolstenholme, and Garry Neill Kennedy, among others.