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Published: October 1st 2014
The everyday back alley is Wilf Perreault’s inspiration. He’s been capturing it in his art since the 1970s. The subject grew on him by accident. As he wandered down back alleys, the inquisitive artist was intrigued by everything from the reflection on water to the interesting ruts in the unpaved roadway to the unique light. So he took photographs to reference his subject matter and worked from them.
The current "Wilf Perreault: In the Alley" exhibition at Regina’s McKenzie Art Gallery has over 40 paintings & watercolours which trace Perreault's fascination with the unlikely urban icon of back alleys. The exhibition runs Sept. 27 2014 to Jan. 4 2015.
Wilf Perreault, who still lives and works in Regina, SK, is one of Saskatchewan’s most celebrated painters as well as one of the most interesting contemporary landscape painters in Canada. This former High School art teacher is best known for his paintings of everyday back alleys. His paintings have been exhibited widely since his first solo exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina in 1978.
Wilf Perreault was born in 1947 in the small French community of Albertville, Saskatchewan. He grew up in Saskatoon where he received private art lessons from a neighbour, the great Saskatchewan painter, Ernst Lindner.
His formal training began at the University of Saskatchewan where he initially concentrated on abstract sculpture. He graduated with a BFA in 1970 and a BEd in 1971 & moved to Regina to teach art. He also returned to painting & his explorations of his new city became a search for a subject matter. He eschewed the
Perreault unexpectedly found his muse in a back alley one day, where he had stopped to look at the reflection of sky and buildings in a puddle.
conventional views & became fascinated instead with the complex vistas to be found in the back alleya of the inner city which sustained his interest throughout his career.
He earned his first solo exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in 1978. After he received a Canada Council grant in 1981, he took a leave from teaching to concentrate on his art. Critical and commercial success followed, so he took a second leave, followed by working as an artist-in-residence with the Regina Catholic School Board. He has worked full-time as an artist since the 1980s, exploring various subject matters such as portraits, but never abandoning his fascination with back alleys.
Perreault’s work can be found in public, private and corporate collections throughout North America & abroad. He has received several public commissions and grant awards. In 1995, his charitable work was recognized with the Mayor’s Award for Volunteer of the Year in Arts, he was also elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, and in 2003 he received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
Links for more info:
Includes 3 videos where he explains his work.
He developed an exacting method to capture the reflections in his often water- or snow-covered alleys.
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