At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on June 28th

SAM BORENSTEIN RETROSPECTIVE to also show in Toronto and Sackville, N.B.

The film Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein will be reissued this summer as a DVD by Imageries Ltd and the National Film Board of Canada. Directed and animated by the artist's daughter Joyce Borenstein, the film won nine international prizes, including an Oscar nomination (1991) and a Genie Award (1992).

Concurrent with the DVD launch, a three-city retrospective of the works of Sam Borenstein will open June 28 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and run through September 18. The Retrospective will then travel to the Justina Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto, October 6 – November 3; and the Owens Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B., January 13 – February 25, 2006.

The Retrospective is organized by the Montreal Museum and curated by Concordia University Art History Professor, Dr Loren Lerner. It will showcase 52 of Borenstein's radiant canvases, painted over a career that spanned 40 years. It will include paintings from museums and private collections across Canada, and feature a full-colour catalogue written by Dr Lerner.

Borenstein (1908 – 1969) was born in Lithuania and immigrated to Montreal in 1921. Described as a Canadian Expressionist, he began painting in the early 1930s and from then on he expressed his emotions on canvas with exuberant brushwork and the infinite palette of colours he found in his beloved Montreal and the neighbouring Laurentian Mountains.

He painted street scenes such as View of Montreal and Laurentian villages, including Summer and Ste-Lucie. His portraits such as Composition Self-Portrait are compelling and mysterious, and his still-lifes, such as Wild Flowers evoke the abundance of a Laurentian summer.

“The flowers are moving as if they are still growing in the garden. A play of sinuous stems and flaring yellow blossoms reminiscent of flickering flames, the painting is composed through brushstrokes moving in a dance of paint,” said Dr Lerner, commenting on Early Sunflowers.

Like the Group of Seven, Borenstein believed in plein-air painting and his inspiration was derived from interpreting nature, but while the Group’s landscapes were of remote wilderness, Borenstein’s scenes are bustling with activity, people at work and at play. Borenstein also believed in a gestural technique and a spontaneous intuitive approach like the Automatistes, Quebec’s influential artists of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Unlike the Automatistes, however, his paintings always refer, however tenuously, to the figurative. In the country scene entitled Ste-Rose, Quebec, the eye is swept by the wind, up the road, to follow several rushing figures that are verging on being abstract squiggles of paint.

Through his paintings, he captures the movement of wind, the heat of summer, and the many colours of snow. He captures the personality behind the face, and the fragrance of flowers.
He is able to make the invisible visible.

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