December 12, 2002 - January 19, 2003
Robert Markle was a central figure in the group of artists represented by The Isaacs Gallery, a prominent and influential Toronto gallery during the 1960s 70s and 80s. The artists in this gallery played an important role in the intellectual discourse and artistic development of the Toronto art scene during this period. Living just outside of Holstein in rural Ontario, Markle was well known locally as a sensual and enigmatic figure, his larger-than-life persona firmly imbedded within the mindscape of his community.
The Durham Art Gallery has maintained a long-standing relationship withRobert and his wife Marlene. This retrospective is a fitting tribute that will afford an opportunity to celebrate and glimpse the creative breadth of his artistic career.
From the beginning of his artistic practice, Markle's muse and obsession was the female nude. This focus and passion motivated his exploration of the sexualised female form, which remained a continuous preoccupation throughout his life. The sensual and the erotic inspired his aesthetic articulation, glamorising the female burlesque or the nude as eroticsed landscape.
The curator has worked in collaboration with Marlene Markle to bring together a body of work that best exemplifies the passion and creative prowess of his art-making expression.
The Durham Art Gallery has allocated both the East and West Galleries to this retrospective of his work, covering the periods of his artistic life, from 1960 - 1990. This exhibition affords an opportunity to view the thirty-year span of his work, and the passionate sensuality of his artistic gesture.
- Tony Massett