Author Tags: Art

Ted Lindberg, a freelance writer and curator, developed the Vancouver Art Gallery Extension Program throughout British Columbia and he was the first director of the Charles H. Scott Gallery at the Emily Carr Institute of Art. He has written at length about Toni Onley and Gordon Onslow-Ford, and he completed a cultural biography of Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic about her life and times in Victoria, London and New York, titled A Portrait by Myfanwy (Sono Nis). In 1990, painter Myfanwy Pavelic was approached by her Montreal agent, Franklin Silverstone, about adding her name to a shortlist of figurative artists to be considered for the commission of an official portrait of Pierre Trudeau. The portrait was to be installed in the House of Commons in Ottawa, along with those of all other former Canadian prime ministers. With Silverstone’s assistance, Mr. Trudeau wished to select an appropriate artist, after looking at slides and photographs from a half dozen studios. The result was a portrait of Trudeau by Pavelic. She was born and raised on Vancouver Island with little formal art training, but at age 15 an exhibition was arranged for her by Emily Carr. Ted Lindberg later wrote Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist (Ronsdale, 1998), a major retrospective of her work. [See below].

[BCBW 2003] "Art"

Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist (Ronsdale $39.95)

Pnina Granirer was born of Jewish parents in the Danube port-city of Braila, Romania, in 1935.

"Only now do I understand how lucky we had been to escape the camps and death trains," she says.

She was fortunate again in 1950 when she and her mother were allowed to emigrate to Israel where she was reunited with her father who had fled Communist persecution via a Yugoslav freighter.
Named Paula in Romania, she adopted Pnina -- meaning pearl in Hebrew -- and married a fellow Romanian emigre in 1954. Her family immigrated to Illinois in 1962, then moved to Ithaca, New York in 1964.

"I remember my surprise," she recalls in Ted Lindberg's Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist (Ronsdale $39.95), "having just arrived in North America, that one could get a Master of Fine Arts degree."

Published in conjunction with a 40-year retrospective of her art at the Richmond Art Gallery, Lindberg's study includes 195 full-colour representations and text to examine her highly literate and spiritual approach to art.

In 1969 one of her monoprint drawings of her son, David, was selected for the cover of the UNICEF calendar. Reminiscent of works by William Blake, her Trials of Eve suite (1980-81) melded Old Testament and Westcoast Native symbolism.

A diptych from her 1988 exhibition Fear of Others -- Art Against Racism is now in the collection of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in New York.

Her Kyoto/Buddha series led to "In Search of Eden", a suite that epitomizes her synthesis of mythological themes and sustaining spiritual concerns.

"My angels have human faces," she says. "They are whimsical, happy, ironic. They look at the vibrant poppies so full of vitality and seem to say, 'You have the gift of this wonderful planet, take good care of it! Are you using your skills as an artist to enhance life, or are you just passing through?'

"In effect, working with these images is like therapy for myself -- I realize I need to look at the lighter side of life. In spite of all the darkness and misery in the world, we have to create or our own Edens. In my sixtieth year I have come to accept the fact that Paradise is an elusive goal; I can only keep up the search."

[BCBW 1998]