Work & Bio

Kathleen Campbell Ward

Born in 1902
 / Died in 1988

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Kathleen Campbell Ward

A lesser known name in Canadian art history, Kathleen Campbell Ward nonetheless worked and studied with some of its most prominent names, producing a body of work that easily stands alongside them. Born in Toronto, she attended Bishop Strachan School as a child where she first studied art under Mary Wrinch, and she later studied at Central Technical School with Frederick Challener. At 17, because of a mastoidectomy, she was sent to the Ontario Art College since, regardless of her artistic abilities, it was a common place for children with some form of ailment to be sent. There she studied with many of the major artists of that generation – George Reid, J.W. Beatty, Arthur Lismer, A.J. Casson, F.H. Varley and A.Y. Jackson. It was on subsequent sketching trips with J.W. Beatty and Alice Innes that she put her study to use. These yearly group excursions in the 1930’s to Burks Falls, ON, with artists such as Hortense Gordon, Sir Frederick Banting and Tom Stone were composed of sketching in the morning and afternoon, and discussion of the results in the evening. Ward believed these trips were the richest experiences she had as an artist. In addition to her work in oil, Ward was also an accomplished print-maker and it is believed that she is one of the first Ontario artists to have silk-screens accepted for juried fine art exhibitions. She was asked by J.W. Beatty make silk-screen reproductions of his work and when they were seen by A.Y. Jackson, he approached her to make reproductions of major Canadian paintings to be sent to Canadian soldiers overseas during World War II. This was not to happen, however, as her career was put on hold when she was given a six week crash course in engineering and spent the war years inspecting machinery and instruments for the Allied Forces. For ten years following the war, she was employed as a statistical researcher after which she returned to art, and studied for a time with Jock MacDonald in his studio. Throughout her career she taught painting and silk-screening technique and exhibited with organizations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian National Exhibition, the Canadian Society of Graphic Art and the Heliconian Club of Toronto. Her work now stands as a valuable, but little known, contribution to the history of Canadian art.

by Daniel Gallay for Roberts Gallery Limited