It presents the artist’s range of style and subject matter, framed by one of his most iconic ideologies: Art should remain subjective to the viewer to preserve its relevance and secure its longevity. The exhibition plays with the theme of “openness” by exploring how art can be a window, door, or mirror to the audience.
Ivan Eyre was born in Tullymet, Saskatchewan, northeast of Regina in 1935. Growing up, he moved with his parents Thomas and Katie Eyre and two siblings to rural communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan before settling in Saskatoon, where his father took a job as an Air Force electrician. As a teenager, Eyre enrolled in after-school art classes at the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate, studying under Ernest Lindner. His early art instruction was followed by evening classes at the University of Saskatchewan where he studied under Eli Bornstein. Upon graduation from high school in 1953, Eyre moved to Winnipeg, where he enrolled in the School of Art at the University of Manitoba studying under William McCloy, Wynona Mulcaster, and George Swinton, graduating in 1957. He married Brenda Yvonne Fenske, whom he had met at the University of Manitoba, in 1958, before heading off to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to begin his MFA studies in the same year. The couple returned to Winnipeg in 1959 when Eyre was hired by his alma mater to teach in the School of Art. The next year, he was made a full-time instructor, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. Within a year of his first semester teaching, the Winnipeg Art Gallery had included the artist’s work in an exhibition. After a celebrated career as a painter and sculptor spanning seven decades, Ivan Eyre passed away at the age of 87 on November 5, 2022.