July 28, 2018 - September 15, 2018
This exhibition features works acquired directly from Joan van Belkum (1923 – 2014) and generous donations from her estate. Together they describe the trajectory of her entire practice, from the rich abstractions of the early 1960s to her open, gestural, mid-career landscapes and the lush, impressionistic works she painted until as late as 2013.
Joan pursued a practice as a painter which extended over 50 years and resulted in the creation of hundreds of works. A native of England who moved to Medicine Hat in 1955, Joan was a trained physician who never practiced medicine here, pursuing instead her lifelong love for painting. She joined the Hat Art Club and eagerly learned from visiting artists and from acclaimed modernist painter Luke Lindoe upon his return to the city. Joan was quickly embraced by an appreciative community through her love of art and our regional landscape. She painted abroad and worked in portraiture, still life and abstraction, yet returned over and over to the rivers, coulees and hills of her adopted home in south eastern Alberta. Joan’s talent was recognized early in her career: in 1963 her work was shown at the Edmonton Art Gallery and in 1964 in a solo exhibition in Calgary. Numerous group exhibitions followed throughout Alberta, with solo exhibitions at the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery in 1982 and 2005. Joan’s solo exhibition, Visibility Unlimited, was selected to be the closing presentation at the MHMAG before the Art Gallery’s move to the Esplanade.
Front: Untitled (River Ice), 2004, oil on canvas, 24 x 36” Collection of the Esplanade Art Gallery
Back: Fall ’81, Joan Painting above Police Point, Esplanade Archives Image, detail