David Lloyd Blackwood
CPE CSGA CSPWC OSA RCA
Ephraim Kelloway's September Door '59
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1990 and on verso signed, titled and dated
70 x 48 in 177.8 x 121.9 cm
Estimate: $90,000 - $120,000
Sold for: $109,250
Preview at: PacArt, Toronto
Gallery One, Toronto
David Blackwood, David Blackwood: Ephraim Kelloway's Door Paintings 1985 - 1990, Gallery One, 1990, foreword, reproduced, unpaginated
William Gough, David Blackwood: Master Printmaker, 2001, the 1990 etching Passing Shadow reproduced page 23 and the 1981 etching Ephraim Kelloway’s Door reproduced page 24
Gallery One, Toronto, David Blackwood: Ephraim Kelloway's Door Paintings 1985 - 1990, October 6 - November 1, 1990
Growing up in outport Newfoundland during the 1940s and ’50s I was surrounded by what the poet Desmond Walsh describes as "the greatness that made this place." This greatness was rooted in the human spirit, the product of almost five hundred years of struggle and adversity.
David Blackwood is a remarkable chronicler of early outport life in Newfoundland in his extraordinary paintings and prints. One of the many rich tales of the town of Wesleyville in Newfoundland concerns the Kelloway family (including brothers Alpheus, Jacob and Ephraim), who were the Blackwood family’s next-door neighbours during David’s childhood. The Kelloway house and outbuildings stood out against other local buildings – instead of being brightly painted, the clapboard structures remained natural grey. In a further departure from convention, in the mid-1950s Ephraim Kelloway began painting the door of his shed in different hues over several summers, reputedly changing the colour almost 50 times. He also attached a variety of objects to the surface, and in this work we see hinges, a horseshoe, and half of a model boat.
Kelloway’s painted door made a strong impression on Blackwood – he was so fascinated by it that he later acquired it, moving it next to his Wesleyville studio building. He created drawings, watercolours and a series of paintings based on the door, stating that this motif became “a personal voyage of exploration and discovery in painting.” It also inspired his 1981 etching Ephraim Kelloway’s Door and his 1990 etching Passing Shadow.
At some point, Kelloway ceased his decorations of the door, and then, through the actions of the elements, the weathering began to expose the underlayers of paint. In Ephraim Kelloway's September Door '59, Blackwood reveals a rich surface with a myriad of hues ranging from warm yellow, pink and red to cool blue and green. The actions of nature have created the illusion that Kelloway has made an abstract painting on his door. In this large and stunning work from the Door series, Blackwood emphasizes this illusion, treating the door as a tapestry of colour, and then extending more muted patches and strips of colour around the door, as well as highlighting the wood siding above the door. Their golden tones give these brushed marks a quality of refracted light and pull the image up to the surface of the picture plane. This is consistent with Blackwood’s statement about the motif being used as a “voyage of exploration,” as this painting is as much about paint, light and space as it is about the actual source image.
Blackwood has not only captured the door as a “richly painted and decorated icon,” but has also transformed it into a stunning modernist painting. Through his narrative he also connects us to change and the passage of time in Newfoundland and to the unique individuals who lived there. As Blackwood poetically stated, “Ephraim Kelloway was a passing shadow on the land and sea of Bonavista North but his door remains and the exploration continues.”
Estimate: $90,000 - $120,000
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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