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RBC Art Pick: Untitled (Personal Painting)

For this RBC Art Pick, we are highlighting a painting in our contemporary collection by Canadian artist Ron Terada.

Ron Terada. Untitled (Personal Painting)

Ron Terada. Untitled (Personal Painting), 1995. acrylic and gesso on canvas, Overall: 122.2 x 122.2 x 3 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchased with the assistance of the Louis Comtois Trust, 1999. © Ron Terada. 2000/62

Have you visited our contemporary collection on Level 4? Recently reinstalled, we are showcasing new acquisitions and collection highlights. For this RBC Art Pick, we have selected a painting, Untitled (Personal Painting) (1995), by Vancouver-based Canadian artist Ron Terada. 

Spanning more than two decades, Terada’s artistic practice includes painting, photography, video, music, text and publication-based works. Exploring language as the main subject for much of his art, he often uses text from a variety of sources and meticulously stencils it onto monochromatic painted canvases. 

For Untitled (Personal Painting), Terada appropriated text from a personal ad found in a print newspaper, which narrates a missed encounter between two people. This painting focuses on the deep desire for human connection and happenstance. In contrast with the neutrality of the text’s presentation, which is standardized and rigid, the underlying message is vulnerable and earnest.  

At first glance, the surface in Untitled (Personal Painting) appear commercially produced. However, in contrast to the “industrial” surfaces of minimalist paintings of the 1960s, Terada’s approach is intimate and painstakingly personal. To create the background of his canvases, he laboriously cross-brush paints his canvas, for which he may apply up to 80 coats of paint. From there he adds the “figure” as the final step—one “coat” of text. 

A graduate of the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Terada has been the subject of numerous group and solo exhibitions across Canada and internationally. In 2018, the AGO presented Jack and the Jack Paintings: Jack Goldstein and Ron Terada, which brought together 14 of the artist’s large-scale text-based paintings from the Jack series. The artworks recount episodes from Chapter 11 of Jack Goldstein’s memoir, entitled “New York Dealers and Collectors,” and were presented beside Goldstein’s sublime photorealistic image of a lightning storm. Click here to read our past Q&A with Terada discussing this 2018 exhibition. 

Stay tuned for our next RBC Art Pick. 

Add this artwork to your viewing list and plan your next visit to the AGO. Admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is always free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under.

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