Toni Onley (Canadian, 1928-2004)
Watercolor collage on paper, signed and with an exhibition label from the Canadian Universities Centennial Exhibition of Drawings (1967-68).
Painting size: 11” x 15”
Frame size: 22.25” x 20.25”
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Born in Douglas, Isle of Man, England, first studied fine art under a local landscape water colourist, John Nicholson, and at the Douglas School of Fine Arts (1942-46). He emigrated to Canada in 1948 and settled for a time at Brantford, Ontario. He took further study at the Doon School of Fine Art in 1951 under Carl Schaefer.
Exhibiting in the Western Ontario Annual show of artists under 27 he won an award in 1955. He exhibited as well with the Royal Canadian Academy and The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colours. In 1957, he won a scholarship offered by the Institute Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. During this period he studied mural painting and fresco and vinylite mediums.
By 1959, he was experimenting with collage paintings usually of irregularly shaped pieces of painted paper or canvas pasted to a backing or canvas. In his collage work he did a Polar series numbered from one to beyond forty. These works on large canvases drew favourable comments from critics and his Polar #1 won the $2,000 Royal Canadian Academy Zacks Award given to an artist at the society's annual exhibition. With this award Onley studied in London, England, while the award-winning painting was presented to the Tate Gallery having been selected by Sir John Rothenstein (Director of the Tate) as the painting he would like to have for his gallery from the 1963 RCA showing. During this period he studied etching.
His awards include: Scholarship, Instituto Allende 1957; Canada Council Grant 1961,1963; Jessie Dow Award at Montreal Spring Show, 1960; one of seven artists to show at the Paris Biennial, 1961; Spring Purchase Award (MMFA), 1962; Canadian Biennials exhibitor 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1968; Sam & Ayola Zacks Award, RCA Annual, 1963; Canada Council Senior Fellowship, 1964.
Onley is represented in the following collections:
Van. Art Gal., B.C.; Univ. B.C. (Brock Hall Coll.); Art Gal. Greater Vict.; Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby, B.C.; Winnipeg Art Gal., Man.; Lond. Pub. Lib. & Art Museum, Ont.; Willistead Gal., Windsor, Ont.; York Univ., Tor.; Art Gal. Of Ont., Tor.; Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's Univ., Kingst., Ont.; NGC, Ott.; Musée d'Art Contemp., Mtl.; Sir Geo. Williams Univ., Mtl.; Mtl. Museum of Fine Arts, P.Q.; C.I.L., Mtl.; Confederation Centre, Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Memorial Univ., St. John's Nfld.; Seattle Museum of Fine Arts, Wash.; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Tate Gal. Lond., Eng.; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
From the Biography by Colin S. MacDonald © 1997 www.tonionley.com.