Jeffrey Spalding
The Art History Archive - Canadian Art

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Canadian Painter

Jeffrey Spalding is an artist, educator and art museum professional. In November 2002, he was appointed Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada's largest art museum. Previously he served as Professor of Art, Florida State University and Director of the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. Spalding has taught at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; York University; The Banff Centre; and The University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He has been an invited artist and guest speaker internationally, and has delivered lectures at the majority of art institutions in Canada. His exhibition record as an artist, like that of the list of public and corporate collections, is diverse. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Works by the artist are in the collections of: The National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, McMichael Canadian Collection, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Edmonton Art Gallery, Glenbow Museum, Appleton Museum of Art, Banff Centre, Mendel Art Gallery, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, The Canadian Embassy, Washington, The Canadian Consulate, Sydney, as well as most principal public art museums in Canada. In 1992, Spalding was honoured to receive the Alberta College of Art Board of Governors Award of Excellence. In 1997, The Art Gallery of Ontario mounted a solo exhibition of Spalding's video art of the early seventies. His work is reproduced and discussed in published surveys of Canadian Art: "Canadian Art from its Beginnings to 2000" by Anne Newlands; as well as "Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century" by Joan Murray. An exhibition of his post-conceptualist works of the seventies is being developed for exhibition by Gallery 111, University of Manitoba.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland 1951, Spalding obtained his BA from the University of Guelph, (Guelph, Ontario); MA from Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) and MFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Previously, Spalding served as Director, Anna Leonowens Gallery, NSCAD; Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Curator of Art, Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta). For seventeen years, Spalding was Professor of Art and Director of the Art Gallery of the University of Lethbridge, serving in the capacity of Curator of the Collections and Professor of Art commencing in 1982 teaching in the areas of studio, art history and museum studies. From 1995-1997 he served as Assistant Dean, School of Fine Arts, Division of Art

In his capacity as Director of the Art Gallery, Spalding oversaw the building of the University of Lethbridge permanent collection from 212 art objects in 1982 to 15,000 art works by 1999 through the donations from art supporters. The collection comprises primarily 19th & 20th Century art of Canada, Britain, USA, & Europe with substantial support collections of the art of Inuit, First Peoples, New Guinea and Micronesia. Spalding has organized over 150 exhibitions for display primarily in North America and has been a perennial curatorial contributor to: Calgary's Artweek/Art Walk Festivals; Art 97 and Art 98 International Art Exposition and Fair, Vancouver; Toronto International Art Fair 2000, as well as Edmonton's The Works, art festival. He was invited to present the only public art museum exhibition as a contribution to the November 2003 Toronto International Art Fair. For his entry he selected: The Sobey Art Award 2002. This year at TIAF 2006 he presented a tribute exhibition to fifties abstractionist Oscar Cahen..

Professor Spalding served from its inception as co-Director, The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Art, Calgary, an institution dedicated to exhibition projects concerning 19th & 20th Century International Art. Spalding has written numerous exhibition catalogue essays among them: Tim Zuck 1976/2002; Coasts the Sea and Canadian Art 1977; Max Ernst 1979 (traveled to Phoenix Art Museum and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts); Silversmithing in Canadian History 1979; John Will1979, 1995, and 2001, Aspects of Canadian Painting in the Seventies 1980 and Robin Peck, 1971-1991 for Burnaby Art Gallery. He was the curator of Canada's visual arts exhibition for Expo 93, Korea and author of its catalogue: Reflecting Paradise. ALSO: Painting the Bay: Recent Works by John Hartman 1993, (for McMichael Canadian Colllection) Roloff Beny: A Visual Journey 1994; Revealing/Concealing Voices from the Canadian Foothills1997 (for Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts); Soup to Nuts: Pop Art and its Legacy 1998 (for the Cheney Cowles Art Museum, Spokane).

At the Appleton Museum, Florida, he organized an ambitious series of exhibitions spanning a year of programs under the banner: "Art of Our Century", as well as an exhibition exploring the engaged relationship of French Master, Henri Matisse to the art and images of the Inuit: "Matisse and the Inuit Face". He contributed an essay for the Tate Gallery, St. Ives, exhibition catalogue regarding artist Eric Cameron, and essays for exhibition catalogues in 2001: Michael Smith (for Gallery de Bellfuielle, Montreal); ABCs of Pop (for Florida State University and Appleton Museum, Ocala Florida). Professor Spalding organized "Sea of Forking Paths: International Contemporary Art" for the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, was juror for the Sarasota Arts Council Awards, the Gasparilla Arts Festival, as well as Halifax Art Festival-Ormond Beach, Fine Arts For Ocala and the Manitoba Society of Artists. He was guest curator to select the Alabama-Georgia Biennial, for the Albany Museum of Art, Georgia. Spalding has conducted a 2000 -2001 lecture tour of Canada and the USA on the topic of American artist, Rockwell Kent, recently he has been appointed to the Rockwell Kent Trust. Upon joining the Appleton Museum of Art, its membership grew from 700 to 2800; annual visitation from 17,800 to 130,000 and earned revenues from $90,000 to $1.1 Million. Six thousand works of art were added by gift in three years.

At AGNS, Spalding is dedicated to the purpose of bringing the art of the world to Nova Scotia and the art of Nova Scotia to the world. Together with the donations from friends of the arts, the AGNS is adding considerable strength and breadth to its historical and contemporary collection, primarily Canadian with support collections in International, First Nations and Craft. Its collection has grown by 50% primarily via gift in just over four years from 9000 works to over 14,000 works. AGNS has attracted for display a broad range of work: from Post-Impressionism from the National Gallery of Canada, "Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World" from Museum of Fine Arts Boston, American video installation artist, Gary Hill, painters April Gornik and Eric Fischl, Richard Serra, multi-media artist David Askevold, Rockwell Kent, Christo and Jeanne-Claude as well as "Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession" from the Cantor Foundation, Los Angeles.

In October 2003, Spalding accompanied The Governor General of Canada upon Canada's State Visit to Finland and Iceland. Recently, he  wrote "Atlantica: the View from Away" for an exhibition of the same name for Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax and served on the jury to select the 2005 Governor General's Awards for Visual and Media Arts. Recently, he completed essays for books accompanying currently circulating retrospective exhibitions: Takao Tanabe (for Vancouver Art Gallery), Christopher Pratt (for the National Gallery of Canada), Garry Neill Kennedy (for the Museum London) and Jean Paul Riopelle for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2002 and touring in 2006 to the Hermitage, St. Petersburg and Marseille Museum of Fine Art, France). He has completed a monograph upon fifties abstractionist Oscar Cahen (publication: January 2007) and is at work on numerous publication projects including Painters Eleven, Les Automatistes and solo artist books accompanying exhibitions including Rockwell Kent, Hunt Slonem, John Hartman, Stephen Hutchings, Tony Scherman Jacques Hurtubise, Will Gorlitz, Mary Pratt among others.

Chronology of Art:

  • Jeffrey Spalding - Event Blue - 1988
  • Jeffrey Spalding - Event Yellow - 1989
  • Jeffrey Spalding - Straight - 1991
  • Jeffrey Spalding - Clouds Evolving -1993
  • Jeffrey Spalding - First Snow White Hope - 1996
  • Jeffrey Spalding - Empire of Night - 2006