“The art that I make and that I see others make confirms the miracle of being alive.”
So said the Order of Canada winning artist Joseph Plaskett, who was born 1918 in New Westminster, moved to Paris in 1957, and continued painting until his death at 96, 2014 in Suffolk.
“Almost every day I live in a state of exaltation,” Plaskett continued. “The art of painting is to me sacred. It is central to all the other visual arts. This art is in a constant state of renewal.”
Plaskett was endorsed by no less than Lawren Harris, who recommended him for the Emily Carr Art scholarship in 1946. It was winning the Emily Carr that set Plaskett on his way, with studies at San Francisco’s California School of Fine Art and later with Hans Hoffmann in New York. Then, Harris and A.Y. Jackson endorsed Plaskett for a role as Director of the Winnipeg School of Art – a position held for two years until he moved to Paris.
Joseph Plaskett. Paris. 1950s
Recognizing how important the Emily Carr scholarship was to his own development and exploration as an artist, Plaskett created the Plaskett Award – $30,000 to support an emerging Canadian painter to live and create art in Europe for a minimum of six months.
‘What led me to give a large part of my fortune away and to live in relatively happy impoverishment? The reasons tumble out,” Plaskett wrote. ‘It is because of love, love of many things and people. First it is love of my country, Canada, which only grows stronger as I continue my life as an expatriate.’
‘Secondly, there is my love of art, in particular the art of painting, and this, too, grows more passionate as I age. Thirdly there is my love of youth, of the young artists of my country who can carry on the dreams and ideals into the future after I am gone. A fourth love is my love of Europe, a continent that is a treasury of great art. Every young artist needs to enjoy and learn from its riches.’
Joseph Plaskett started exhibiting at the Bau-Xi Galleries in 1973. Now, until October 17th, the South Granville Bau-Xi is showing a curated exhibit of his paintings entitled Home. Plaskett did so love to paint his ‘interiors and contents,’ be they from when he was living in New Westminster, Paris, or Suffolk.
Plaskett’s Home exhibit includes …
Table With Letters. The Writing Table
Still Life On Pale Yellow
White Amaryllis, White Lilies, Melon
Vessels & Cabbage
Header: Still Life With Black Pots (On Blue)