The McMaster Museum of Art

    VILLENEUVE, Alfred
    Date: Kichesipirini-Algonquin, born 1958
    Born and raised in Barry’s Bay Ontario, on the eastern fringe of Algonquin Provincial Park, Alfred shares familial ancestry with FN (Algonquin) and European bloodlines.
    He has always drawn and created since earliest childhood memories, and his gift was first recognized by his Grade One teacher Mrs. Greta Bloskie.
    Alfred is a single twin, his brother died before his first birthday, and as a child, was isolated for the first ten years of his life through sickness and extended hospital stays every winter from a kidney ailment and lung infections. His mother Evelyn, provided to him during those long, quiet winter days; pencils; crayons, pens and foolscap pads to help alleviate the conditions of being without family or friends.
    Throughout his life Alfred has always had his art as his constant companion, which has given him the advantage of being alone, without being lonely.

    It was as an eighteen year old student that Alfred had his first real taste of canoe tripping in Algonquin. Along with several teachers and students from the local high school, they completed a three hundred and twenty kilometre trip; touching all four boundaries of Algonquin. Although Villeneuve had canoed and boated since a child, this trip solidified his calling both as an artist and someone who loves best being within Nature.

    Alfred worked in Algonquin during the late 70’s early 80’s at the East Gate, providing tourists with information and guidance on canoe tripping and the history of the Park.
    In 2005 Alfred, with the assistance of a creation/production grant from the Ontario Arts Council, created a project called “thirty days in july”- homage to an Algonquin Summer. Covering over 400 km and producing thirty four plein air works in the thirty days, he took the results including fifteen large studio works on a Provincial tour from the near North, T.A.G. in Hailebury, to the south at the Homer Watson House and Gallery in Kitchener Ontairo.
    The tour also made stops in Bancroft, North Bay, and the nations’ Capital, Ottawa.
    Alfred released a book last year based on his extensive journaling over that period. The book- ‘thirty days in july-homage to an Algonquin Summer’ is available by direct purchase from the artist.
    Alfred continues to ply the waterways and trails in Algonquin today in his native homelands.


    Artists Statement:

    “Saturated Motion in Colour, gives Life, Animated for all time.”

    This statement encapsulates the philosophy behind my work and life.
    It also defines my intent, of what it is to be of this land, ‘Tanakiwin’ (Homeland in Algonquin).

    Painting expresses not only my relationship with the land, but also with my ancestors. It is my expression, that we are all continuously reclaimed and re-birthed over and over, in the cycles of birthing, living, creating and dying, our atoms forever being rearranged into new configurations.

    For myself, these “kinetic memories” imbedded in my DNA, help guide my perspective and focus through the prism of what I call my own ‘Artistic Trinity’, that being aesthetics, history and culture.

    Through my autodidactic approach to the study of Art History, I have been influenced by the Classics, Romantics, Impressionists and Moderns.
    Closer to home, I count among my influences and inspirations- Emily Carr, Alex Colville, David Milne and Norval Morrisseau.

    The duality of my cultural experience- Nature based Native spirituality, juxtaposed with European Roman Catholicism, has resulted in a visual divination, my own painterly language I call “Algonkin Mosaic”.
    My deeply held beliefs concerning the stewardship of our homelands often conflict with ‘majority culture’ attitudes; but as Canadian patriot Dr. Norman Bethune once stated,”..the artist must be an agitator..”, to shake society out of it’s stupor, and to encourage the defense and protection of the greater good and by extension, Our Mother.

    Alfred Villeneuve


    Artist's CV

    Recent Exhibitions:
    Spring 2014- Massey College (U.ofT.) Toronto Ontario, inaugural exhibition supporting Canadian Artists (Massey Foundation,Massey College, Quadrangle Society, Bernard Ostry Cultural Fund) Round Room Gallery, Solo Exhibit- Home & Native Land.

    Summer 2013- Gallery Indigena, Stratford Ontario. Solo Exhibition.
    Autumn 2012- Art Gallery of Bancroft, Bancroft Ontario. Solo exhibition: In My Mothers Time-Homage to Home.

    Summer 2012- Gallery Indigena, Stratford Ontario. Solo Exhibition- The Standing People, Arboreal Portraits of Algonquin Park.

    Notable Exhibitions:

    2011- Tomlinson Gallery, McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton Ontario. Group show, induction of Paul R. MacPherson Woodland Collection into perm. Collection McMaster Museum of Art.

    Autumn 2010- Maslak McLeod Gallery,Yorkville Toronto. Solo exhibit, “thirty one days of Indian Summer”.

    Spring 2009- Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Group exhibition “First Nations & Inuit Spirits- From Traditional to Abstract, a new look at Native & Inuit Art.”

    Winter 2008- Cube Gallery, Ottawa Ontario. Group Exhibition, “Kitchiokima-Land, Leadership & Betrayal.

    Summer 2008- Lester B. Pearson Blg., hosted by department of Foreign Affairs celebrating National Aboriginal Day. Group Exhibition, curated by Don Monet, Cube Gallery.

    Summer 2008- Homer Watson House & Gallery, Kitchener Ontario. Solo Exhibition- “thirty days in july-Homage to an Algonquin summer.”

    Winter 2007- Cube Gallery, Ottawa Ontario. Group Exhibition-“Canadiana”.

    Spring 2006- Temiskaming Art Gallery, Haileybury Ontario. Solo Exhibition- “thirty days in july-Homage to an Algonquin summer.

    Spring 2005- International Tulip Festival, Ottawa Ontario. Group Exhibition. Theme “Peace”.

    Awards/Collections:
    Spring 2010- Included in Paul R. MacPherson Woodland Collection along with 26 other aboriginal artists, including Norval Morriseau, Benjamin Chee Chee, and Daphne Ojig.
    Into permanent collection, McMaster Museum of Fine Art.

    Summer 2007- Short listed in the R.B.C.-Canadian Art Magazine’s National Painting Competion. (July Sunset-Tea Lake, Algonquin Park/thirty days in july series).

    2005 & 2009- Awarded production/creation grants from the Ontario Arts Council, government of Ontario. Projects- “thirty days in july” & “thirty one days of Indian Summer”.

    Media Quotes:

    June 2012- “I like the way he (Villeneuve) has contemporized the Canadian landscape with his fractured spiritualist canvases. That is Alfred’s realm, the spiritual, the life we live, the life in awe of a divine and holy creator.”
    Don Monet- Cube Gallery, from Indian Life Newspaper, Manitoba Canada.

    Autumn 2010- “Villeneuve conveys that same sense of discovery we see in Van Gogh’s fields, Seurat’s visual experiments, and Emily Carr’s hallucinatory depictions of the rainforest.”
    Martin Mills, Points of Departure, Opus Deo Exhibition, Yorkville Toronto.

    Spring 2010- “If Van Gogh were Ojibwe, Villeneuve’s expressionistic approach to landscape painting might appear as a faithful aesthetic offspring.”
    Russ Tallchief, Native Peoples Magazine. U.S.A.

    Autumn 2009- “There is a beguiling aspect to Alfred Villeneuve’s work which transcends the conventional depiction of landscape.”
    Joseph McLeod, Maslak McLeod Gallery, Yorkville Toronto.

    Winter 2008- “The successful melding of Tom Thomson’s bold and colourful expression of nature, striking Van Gogh-like skies and foliage, and pure bright sunlight, with David Milne’s capacity to express changing reflected trees on water and to separate the assemble component parts in new configurations is Villeneuve’s true genius.”
    Nigel Beale, Broadcaster, Writer, Reviewer. Ottawa Ontario.


    Source: Alfred Villeneuve
    Image: The artist canoeing on Lake Tanamakoon Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park in June, 2014