Roberts Gallery Blog
Roberts Gallery Blog

Spotlight on John Gould

On Display Saturday January 13th to Wednesday January 24th

Ink and pencil drawings on paper.
“Mexico – Streetscene,”  “Mexico – Open Door,” and “Figures”
During the 1950’s and ’60’s John Gould travelled through Europe and North America.  Mexico was his most common destination, hitchhiking there and back in 1954, ’55 and ’56 and then returning (by plane) from 1965 – ’68.  He studied the people, architecture and daily habits by drawing them in ink or pencil in his sketchbooks on paper.  These quick studies were done on the spot as diary-like documents of his experience with Mexican culture.

The drawings he did in Mexico, resulted in John producing his first film which can be viewed below:

Major Works – gesso and conté on masonite
“The Comedians,” “Dreamscape (Ancestor Series),” “Reunion at the Palais Royale,” “The Regina Uncle,” “Peruvian Dancer,” and “Priest – Kyoto.”
These pieces are typical of his masterworks from the 1970’s.  They were usually done on a hard surface, such as masonite, which he covered with a gesso.  He would draw mainly in conté crayon and finish the backgrounds with arduous amounts of “cross hatching” in conté.  Unlike John’s other drawings, these were major, time consuming efforts.


John with works from his Ancestors series outside his home.


Conté and gouache on handmade paper
“Calligrapher” and “Two Women Launching a Kite”
John was introduced to handmade paper during a 5 week trip to Kyoto, Japan in 1969.  Upon his return he was able to source similar paper from a small store on Church Street.  Not long after that the Japanese Paper Place was opened on Queen Street in Toronto by Nancy Jacobi.  They would be John’s supplier of the beautifully textured papers in a variety of colours for the remainder of his career.
He would work in conté and sometimes gesso. John would not sketch out a drawing but rather have an idea of what he wanted and spontaneously draw his image.  Because of the delicate nature of the paper, no corrections were possible.  It was this flowing line that other artists admired most about John’s talent.