Robert Sinclair RCA

1939 -

Robert Sinclair"s approach to life is through his art. It centers on the idea of exploration and capturing the ‘big idea’. He considers our reality and spins his visual ‘dance’ to observe, internalize and translate complexity, via a brushstroke or a line, in order to communicate a deep-seated understanding that all things are integrated and ephemeral. Robert’s intent is to show the essence of place or entity. It is an approach that relies on primary form and process. It infuses the subject with a spirit intended to touch core values and elicit memories, inform an idea, connect with a divinity.

Distilled to their essential color, shape and design the representation of weather seems barely there. The linear understructure - the drawing style which underlies all of my work - with watercolor wash parsimoniously applied across the paper’s surface, provides the essential essence of the landforms as well as their immediate seen/unseen environment. The work demonstrates the movement of air against the seeming permanence of place, putting forward impressions on the essentials of life, death, and meaning.

My intent is to capture the ‘big idea.’ My process is to observe, internalize and translate complexity, via a brushstroke or a line, in order to communicate my deep-seated understanding that all things are integrated and ephemeral. My intent is to show the essence of place or entity. It is an approach that relies on primary form and process. It infuses the subject with a spirit intended to touch core values and elicit memories, inform an idea, connect with a divinity.

While my work is ‘subject matter’ oriented, it has never been descriptive. It is about exploring, possibly as a metaphor, what is our reality – the answering or exploring of this question(s) will always be visual not philosophical. Much like sumi-e the most important part of my work is that which is not painted or that which is left unsaid.

My work is about searching for balance, specifically a balancing of opposites, in a sense the ‘yin and yang’ of things (with our geography this means the prairie and the mountain; with the flower it is a recognition of reciprocity). Concurrent to this disciplined approach to form is a free and lyrical use of colour. The result, in my work, is a stillness or quietude as if one is meditating or being presented with a meditative process, ‘the inward path.’

This approach has always involved bringing what is called ‘the beginner’s mind’ to my art. A state where you know you are ignorant and are totally open to what is being presented to you. This is a state of awareness and observation, whether I am in the wide vistas of the Canadian prairie, the grand landscape of mountain tops and valleys or the closer, more intimate, space and interaction with flowers.

It all started
Many years ago
From the window
A road went by our farm and
I followed it…
Through
And
In truth
I “followed my bliss”
Drawing and painting and such
And
In recent years
Watercolouring
And in truth
Just “following the water.”  

 
Robert Sinclair, RCA, CSPWC was born in Saltcoats, Saskatchewan in 1939 and holds a B.F.A. from the University of Manitoba and a M.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the State University of Iowa. Robert taught art at the University of Alberta from 1965 to 1996. Since the 1980's he also taught art at the Banff School of Fine Arts and continue to teach at the Red Deer College Summer Series Program. Robert runs his own watercolour workshops combining art and awareness techniques to explore the connections between creativity and physical/spiritual well being. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. The artist has exhibited regularly in Canada since 1972. He is also a teacher of tai chi and has practiced Buddhist meditation for many years.  He is represented in many corporate and public collections across Canada, America, Europe and Japan. Since 1965 his work has been featured in over 75 solo exhibitions and over 50 group shows at public galleries, universities and commercial galleries in Canada, the United States and abroad.     

Selected Collections


Royal Collection of H.M. the Queen, the Royal Library, Windsor Castle
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff
Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario
Agnes Etherington Art gallery, Queen’s University, Kingston
The Gallery, Stratford, Ontario
Confederation Art Gallery, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Glenbow Museum, Calgary
Alberta Art Foundation, Edmonton
C.B.C., Calgary
Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, Toronto
Western University, Guelph, Ontario
Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, British Columbia
University of Alberta, Edmonton
University of Iowa, Iowa City
Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois
Deutsche Bank, Toronto
The Northland Bank, Edmonton
Guarantee Trust, Vancouver
Norcen Energy Resources, Toronto and Calgary
Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary
Toronto Dominion Bank Collection, Toronto
Oxford Development Group, Edmonton
Esso Resources, Calgary
Chevron Standard
Canadian Superior Oil
Pan Canadian Petroleum
Department of External Affairs, Government of Canada
Toronto Dominion Bank, Edmonton
Canadian Development Corporation
Guarantee Trust
I.D.X. Holdings
Investcan Ltd.
Ouida, Touche and Associates
Vencap Equities Alberta
Athabasca University
Inter-Provincial Pipeline, Edmonton
Government House, Edmonton
Heinze Jordan Co., Toronto
Bannister Construction, Toronto
Dr. Rainer Hocherl, Munich, West Germany
Sceptre Resources Ltd., Calgary
McLeod Dixon, Calgary
British Petroleum, Calgary
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg
Neuman Thompson, Edmonton
Government of Alberta Agent General to Japan, Tokyo
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan
Wallace & Partners, Toronto, Ontario
Melcor, Edmonton, Alberta