Generous donation bound for auction

Jan DeGrass/Arts and Entertainment Writer / Staff writer
September 20, 2013 01:00 AM

Giving thanks for a generous donation of the work of Gordon Adaskin: (l to r) Arts Centre volunteer Katherine Johnston, Arts Council chair Bruce Milne and auction co-ordinator Kit Artus.

The show of artwork from the late Gordon Adaskin and other Canadian artists represents the biggest donation of work in the history of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council, according to council chair Bruce Milne.

He gave a brief welcome at the exhibition's opening reception, thanking Adaskin's wife Jan for her generosity.

The show opened on Sept. 11 at the Doris Crowston Gallery at the Arts Centre in Sechelt and it will close with an auction of the work on Oct. 5. Already, a few eager buyers hope to own work from this B.C. artist who lived the last years of his life in Gibsons.

The work, that has an estimated value of $60,000 to $70,000, includes pieces by other renowned artists such as Gordon Smith's vivid prints, a delicate floral titled The Poet's Iris by Don Li-Leger and work by abstract painter George Mihalcheon. Other items include a small ceramic by the late Jack Harman, a Yosuf Karsh portrait photo of a Canadian opera singer, Edward Johnson, and a delightfully rotund wooden rooster bowl by Bill Koochin. Most of the work is from Adaskin himself, painted over many years, and they include acrylics and watercolours. There are two huge pieces: a colourful collage on masonite that reportedly weighs heavy by the volunteers who hung the show and a vast untitled oil painting that dominates the entrance way to the gallery.

Jan Adaskin, art collector and widow of the artist, has served on the Arts Council board and continues to support and be a volunteer at the gallery.

"The arts are so key to our lives," she said from her Gibsons home. She described how many of the paintings were also collected by Adaskin's family.

"I wanted to choose a good selection for the show," she said, "different price ranges, different colours, different mediums."

Adaskin was born in 1931 into a musical family that included composers Harry and Murray Adaskin. He studied at Vancouver Art School and later at Alberta College of Art and went on to teach at the University of Manitoba where he became better known than in his native B.C. On retiring, he moved to Gibsons in 1995 and held two shows in local galleries, the Gibsons Public Art Gallery at its former location and the Beachcomber Gallery, also in Gibsons. He died in 2001.

Coast resident Deb Flitton describes how the artist had a big influence on her and taught her to observe in order to paint. She recalls how, as a grade 11 student, she attended an art class taught by Adaskin at the Banff School of Fine Arts.

"He was large as life, a big, happy guy," she remembers.

Most of the work on show will be auctioned on Oct. 5 starting with a reception at 4 p.m. Bidders can stop by the Arts Centre from Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. to see the art. A catalogue of work is available in print form at the Arts Centre for $3, or it can be viewed on the special art auction website:

Those who cannot be at the live auction can make an advance bid on the form supplied on the website. It's noteworthy that the Arts Council auction will collect no fee from buyers; PST only will be charged on the purchase price.

Phone the Arts Centre at 604-885-5412 for more information.

© Coast Reporter


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