Robert Fones (b. 1949)
A pioneer in Canadian conceptual art, Robert Fones is widely celebrated for his ground-breaking paintings and two dimensional works of the 1970’s and 80’s. These explore the cultural and natural forms that surround us through pictorial illusions and engaging paradoxes of visual perception.
His early work was inspired by the humour of Pop and Dadaism evident in the Regionalist art of the 1960s in Fones’ native London, Ontario. His later influential artworks range from the monumental to two-dimensional works that appear three-dimensional, with subject matter ranging from agricultural production, geologic time, commercial sign systems and the letters of the alphabet. According to Fones, he “often uses humour to engage the viewer, question underlying assumptions and beliefs, and to hint at darker aspects of our culture.”
Fones has exhibited throughout Canada and internationally. He received the Toronto Arts Award for Visual Art in 1999 and was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2011. His work is held in national private and public collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.
Fones’ artistic practice extends to artist’s books, poetry, creative writing, and art criticism. He was a founding member of the Forest City Gallery in London, Ontario, and has promoted other contemporary artists, curating exhibitions of Canadian artists, and serving on the boards of arts journals and galleries.