Off the Wall

Front Cover
The Porcupine's Quill, 2008 - Art - 223 pages

A series of 113 drawings which served as studies for artist Tony Urquhart's ubiquitous box sculptures -- strange, surreal, almost absurd objects. These preliminary sketches provide a unique window into the mind and process of the artist. Captions for the drawings are provided by Michael Phillips who has approached them as if coming on a batch of drawings without prior knowledge of their intent. He has tried to divine something of the artist's purpose in designing these objects, and to speculate on the end of various projects. Off the Wall -- amusing, irreverent, nonsensical -- is exactly that!

In order to facilitate the construction of his box sculptures Urquhart required working drawings, idea drawings and even drawings of the stands upon which the sculptures would sit. These works were not intended as ends in themselves, but nonetheless they are as complete, interesting and exciting as the artist could render. Urquhart explains that one of his `artistic heroes' is Leonardo da Vinci -- whose idea drawings for flying machines, military catapults and siege cannons have never been surpassed.


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User Review  - Katya0133 - LibraryThing

A collection of drawings by Tony Urquhart with satirical commentary by Michael B. Phillips. Very offbeat and funny. Read full review


Study for Magic Wood Pen ink 1986 16 5 cm x 12 8
Tree box 1 Pen ink 1973 11 4 cm x 15 2 cm
Box with tree Pen ink 1996 18 1 cm x 15 5 cm

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About the author (2008)

Tony Urquhart is a painter, a sculptor and draughtsman. In the early sixties Urquhart was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy, the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Canadian Society of Graphic Arts. He later resigned from these organizations to found CAR (Canadian Artists Representation) with Jack Chambers and Kim Ondaatje. He has taught in the art departments of McMaster, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Waterloo. `Worlds Apart: The Symbolic Landscapes of Tony Urquhart', a major retrospective curated by Joan Vastokas toured Canada in 1988-89.Tony has been involved in the illustration of works by his wife, the writer Jane Urquhart, as well as those of Michael Ondaatje, Matt Cohen, Louis Dudek, and Rohinton Mistry. Named to the Order of Canada in in 1995, Tony Urquhart was named to the Order of Canada in 1995, he divides his time between Stratford, Ontario and Ireland.

Michael Phillips was born in Saskatoon when Cokes were a nickel. He received all his formal education there and articled with a law firm before moving to Ottawa to join the Foreign Service. During his diplomatic career he served in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dublin, London, Stockholm and New York. He was Canadian Ambassador to Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia during the period 1991 to 1995. He was Ambassador to Ireland from 1996 to 1998 and Consul General in New York from 1998 to 2002. In Ottawa he served twice as an Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for US relations. Early on Michael's artistic life was confined to piano lessons and executing wall drawings using indelible crayons. Later, however, he was much involved in cultural diplomacy, particularly as Minister for Public Affairs in London and as Consul General in New York. Michael retired from the Foreign Service in 2002, and now lives with his wife, Oonagh, in Ireland where she was born.

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