The Portrait Society of Canada salutes Canada’s top Olympic athletes in an extraordinary, month-long exhibition of contemporary portraits. Canadian Olympic Athletes: A Dialogue in Art will be on display March 2-26, 2010 at the John B. Aird Gallery in the MacDonald Block, 900 Bay Street, first floor, Toronto. The paintings will also be auctioned for sale on eBay (www.ebay.ca) or via www.portraitsociety.ca) during the Olympics. After the exhibition, they will remain on sale through the year at the Portrait Society website.
The Opening Reception is Thursday, March 4, 6-8 p.m., with artists and a number of the athlete subjects in attendance. Brothers Paul and John Craig, track and field Olympians (1976 and 1980) will be guest speakers. The portrait of the two recently carrying the Olympic Torch, by artist Jean Harding, is one of 34 artworks on display and sale.
The exhibition is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at no charge. Information is available at both the Gallery website, http://airdgallery.org, and at www.portraitsociety.ca.
Canadian Olympic Athletes: A Dialogue in Art features fine art portraits of living Canadian Olympians and Paralympians, created by professional portraitists across Canada. Most are in oils or acrylic, although there are two sculptures.
Portrait subjects include Donovan Bailey (track & field), Evart Baste (sailing), Alex Baumann (swimming), Billy Bridges (sledge hockey/Paralympic), Petra Burka (figure skating), Tracy Cameron rowing), Paul and John Craig (track & field), Jim Elder (equestrian), Sylvie Frechette (synchronized swimming), Marc Gagnon (speed skating), Clara Hughes (cycling/speed skating), Sammy Jo (women’s hockey), Becky Kellar (women’s hockey), Eric Lamaze (equestrian), Nathalie Lambert (speed skating), Silken Laumann (rowing), Yann Mathieu (wheelchair tennis), Josh McGuire (fencing), Sasha Mehmedovic (judo), Ian Millar (equestrian), Angus Mortimer (kayak), Helen Nichol (badminton), Brady Reardon (canoe), Kalyna Roberge (speed skating), Jennifer Robinson (figure skating), Joannie Rochette (figure skating), Barbara Ann Scott (figure skating), Ole Sorensen (wrestling), Simon Whitfield (triathlon), Frazer Will (judo) and Lauren Woolstencroff (alpine ski/Paralympics).
Portrait Society founder and President Veronica Kvassetskaia-Tsyglan points out that this significant exhibition celebrates not only the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympics Games, but also the artists’ unique involvement with Canadian Olympic athletes. “Both the athletes and artists reflect enthusiasm, energy and an exceptional ability to go the distance,” she says.
“It was a great inspiration and privilege to create these paintings,” Tsyglan concludes. “We wish all of our Canadian athletes the best of luck in Vancouver in 2010.”