Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jeff Molloy - Speaking Out For Canada

Jeff Molloy is an artist whose work focuses on Canadian culture, history and tradition. . He is a farmer of art. He likes to get his hands dirty, using humble and ordinary materials to create multi-dimensional, multi-sensory works that elicit an emotional response from the people who experience them, and bring energy to the spaces they inhabit.

That being said, its important to roll back the clock to Jeff's roots for we are products of our life experiences and our environment. Jeff's journey into art began as a young boy, where he grew up in a middle class working family home off the Danforth in Toronto in 1957 . As a young boy, Jeff took to art using it as an emotional and expressive outlet in an age when children were spoken to but seldom heard. Jeff already had a strong interest in art when he had the good fortune to meet celebrated artist, A.Y. Jackson, who was then the artist in residence at the Mc Michael Art Gallery in Kleinberg.

“We sat in the shade and chatted about art and life,” Molloy remembers. “At the time, I didn’t really know who he was, but I liked his kindness and generosity as he shared his stories about art. This made an indelible impression on me.”

Other early artistic influences were Vassily Kandinsky and Henry Moore, both of which he encountered at the Ontario Art Gallery. Molloy particularly loved the naturally lit Henry Moore wing and spent countless hours admiring Moores plaster maquettes. Jeff also remembers walking past
a doorway catching a glimpse of his first Vassily Kandinsky painting, an experience he describes as “ feeling a wind ”. These early encounters set Molloy on a path from which he would never return.

At points in his life Jeff suppressed his creativity, wrestled with addictions and depression, his marriage suffered with Jeff always on the road working in the construction industry. Molloy refers to this time as the dark ages. In 1995 the Molloys moved to Victoria BC. This was a pivotal time for the entire family.

Jeff went on to study art at the Victoria College of Art where he graduated in 1999. Until attending Art College Molloy had never considered himself an artist or exhibiting his artwork publicly. Since graduating Jeff has won numerous awards, mounted many solo and group exhibitions as both an artist and a curator. Molloy, on occasion has teamed up with other artists to produce award winning collaborations while maintaining his solo practice. For nine years Jeff mentored countless upcoming artists through their first solo shows as the curator from 2000 to 2009 for the Gallery at the Mac in Victoria BC.

In 2007, Jeff and his solemate Kathryn. seeking a quieter life, moved to Gabriola Island where Jeff maintains a studio a stones throw away from a field of sheep. On the solstice, June 2009, a seven hour surgery saved Molloy from a rare form of Cancer. August of the same year, not able to stand on his feet for more then a few minutes at a time, Molloy mounted a solo exhibition, titled
In Search of Ritual at the Campbell River Art Gallery.

Other important exhibitions for Jeff were Fibre of a Nation (Toronto,ON -1999), Human Residue (Victoria/Nelson, BC - 2000), The Mattress Project (Vancouver/ Ft St John,BC - 2001), Venetian Vignettes (Victoria - 2006),  Wax & Wool  (Gabriola/Edmonton2008), A Canadian Portrait (Victoria/Gabriola - 2010) Fachada Cubana (Victoria – 2011)Due North (Toronto/Victoria - 2012)

Canadian history and culture has been a recurring theme in Molloy's work.  CBC announcer, Shelagh Rogers who hosts, 'The Next Chapter', said this of Jeff:

"Jeff Molloy’s work has been capturing the spirit of Canada long before the rest of the world caught on during the Olympics. He is one of this country’s leading editorial artists and one of the most original artists at work in Canada today."

Jeff's work is iconically Canadian. At a recent showing, appropriately called "Due North, held at Toronto's Artscape Gallery and at the Winchester Gallery in Victoria,  Jeff's art features old canoe paddles, hockey sweaters, and life sized-encaustic blankets.

There can be no doubt - that Jeff uses his art to present the culture and history of our country.

After more than thirty years on the prairies and on the westcoast Molloy's recent work embraces a strong First Nations and Metis influence. Mia Johnson of Preview Magazine describes Molloy as a Canadian artist whose work “focuses on the cultural symbols of Canada.”

To visit Jeff's website please click here.

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