Bruce Head. Sleeping Giant, 2003. Acrylic on canvas, 203 x 177 cm. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Royal Canadian Academy Trust Fund, Mr. and Mrs. G.B. Wiswell Fund, Elizabeth Hudson, Betty Wilcox, the Honourable Mr. Justice Allen B. Sulatycky, Agnes Carrigan, the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Naylor, funds administered by The Winnipeg Foundation, the Estate of Ann Smith, and the Estate of Dr. Jacob Isa and with funds from the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre achetée avec l’aide du programme d’aide aux acquisitions du Conseil des Arts du Canada, 2007-64.
Shortly after my arrival at the WAG, we organized a retrospective exhibition of the Winnipeg artist, Bruce Head (1931-2009). Sadly, a year later Bruce passed away.
My first recollection of the artist was someone bigger than life, and that never changed during our brief but exceptional friendship. His paintings were also bigger than life – not always by their dimension or scale, but with their extraordinary colour, brushwork, and undulating surfaces and shapes.
“Sleeping Giant” (2003) does not disappoint with its explosion of colours, patterns, and textures. Head’s inspiration and title for this landscape came from the red cliffs that dominate the peninsula on Lake Superior east of Thunder Bay.
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