Bloore, Ron (1925-)

Ronald Bloore's Sign #5, oil on masonite, 1961.
Hank Roest

Ronald Langley Bloore was born on May 29, 1925, in Brampton, Ontario. After studying art and archaeology at the University of Toronto, New York University, and Washington University in St. Louis, he traveled to Europe to continue his studies in Brussels, Antwerp, and London. He lectured in art history at the University of Toronto before coming to Regina as instructor of art and archaeology at Regina College, and as director of the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery. Bloore was based in Regina for only a brief period of time, from 1958 to 1966; but while there he made a deep and lasting impression. As director, he was noted for his energy and determination in bringing the art world to the prairies: he sponsored and contributed to the infamous “Win Hedore” exhibit, along with Ted Godwin and Ken Lochhead, where car parts and buckets of sand challenged viewers' notions of art; and he acquired for the gallery the sculpture “Mother and Child” by Jacques Lipchitz - a bold and farsighted move at the time.

Bloore, who constantly painted while studying and teaching as an art historian, finally painted fully non-representational works soon after arriving in Saskatchewan. In Regina, he produced such works as “White Sun-Green Rim” (1960), “Double Sun” (1960), “Byzantium” (1961), and the “White Line Series” from 1963 to 1965. With a few notable exceptions, these mark the beginning of Bloore's entry into white. Asked if the prairie winter landscape influenced this move, Bloore answerd that while the prairie affected his vision of light, texture and space, the shift to white was inspired by Egypt and Greece. In 1961, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Canadian Museums Association, Bloore mounted a show of local contemporary art called simply “The May Show.” The National Gallery of Canada remounted the exhibit in Ottawa, without the architect Clifford Wiens, as “Five Painters from Regina,” and then travelled the show across Canada. Bloore, Ken Lochhead, Art McKay, Ted Godwin, and Doug Morton, made a lasting impression on the Canadian art scene; by 1966, however, the Regina Five had gone their separate ways.

Bloore left Regina in 1966 to teach visual art and art history at York University in Toronto, where he remained for the rest of his academic career. He now employs his retirement to paint full time.

Mark Vajcner

Further Reading

Heath, T. 1991. Ronald L. Bloore: Not Without Design. Regina: MacKenzie Art Gallery; Verrall, K. 1999. “Five Painters in Ottawa: The Governance of Exhibitionary Spaces.” MA Thesis, York University.