William Kurelek The Presence of Melancholy
Winnipeg Art Gallery
300 Memorial Blvd
March 25, 2023 to April 2, 2023
At the time of his death, William Kurelek (1927-1977) was one of the most commercially successful artists in Canada.
Kurelek was also one of the country’s most prolific artists, producing over 2,000 paintings and drawings over the course of his brief career. The WAG holds one of the largest public collections of Kurelek’s artwork; and these holdings were enriched significantly by a generous gift of ten paintings from Margaret Hucal in 2021. Presented in this exhibition is a selection of paintings by Kurelek from the recent Hucal gift along with other works from the collection. Kurelek’s unique realist painting style was applied to a diversity of subjects, including the Prairie landscape, new immigrants in Canada, life on the farm, spirituality, and mental health. His documentation of the Ukrainian immigrant is particularly poignant given the current military conflict and oppression in Ukraine.