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April 9, 2009

Jurgen Mohr Exhibition at the Alex Dufresne Gallery in Callander



North Bay’s Jurgen Mohr has a unique and powerful solo exhibition at the Alex Dufresne Gallery in the Callander Bay Heritage Museum until the end of April.  The Gallery with its cathedral ceiling , open space and natural light is one of the best venues around.  I visited the Gallery recently and saw the show and talked to Curator Carol Pretty about Jurgen’s work. 

Jurgen Mohr paintings at the Alex Dufresne Gallery, Callander

I have known Jurgen’s work since the 1980s when he lived in Chisholm Township where I live and his two children went to Almaguin Highlands Secondary School with my daughter.  I visited Jurgen years ago to look at his sculpture on occasion.  I have seen his work over the years including the bas relief of Grey Owl that he did for the Kennedy Gallery’s Angele Project in North Bay and later in Temagami in 2006 & 2007. 

When I saw his exhibition of some of his smaller works at Renee’s Café in South River  last fall I was impressed with its impact and complexity.  When I noticed the show in Callander of his larger works I visited the show and decided to talk to him.  He was easy to find in North Bay and we visited for a couple of hours. 

Jurgen has painted full time for several years  while he and his wife Luisa Valerio oversee two Mexican teenage students living  with them each year while attending the English For International Communication Institute. 

Jurgen came to Canada in 1956 as an eight year old and developed an early interest in art.  He studied fine art at York and Guelph and earned a degree in fine arts.  He ran an Art & Craft Centre briefly and became a teacher of sculpture and art history at St. Clair College for a couple of years before teaching art and graphic communication at Canadore in North Bay.  He worked as a graphic designer for 11 years and has worked as a freelance graphic designer and as a silkscreen technician.  For the past 15 years he has worked full time as a professional artist. 

Jurgen has exhibited widely and is represented in private, public and corporate collections and has several grants from the Ontario Arts Council. 

Jurgen Mohr in his studio in North Bay. Doug Mackey photos


Jurgen’s work is unique and complex and has  a powerful presence.  In spite of  the closeness of nature around him his work has other influences.  He is greatly influenced by primitive art and South American painting.  His wife is from the Dominican Republic where they visit regularly.  He is also very much influenced by symbols and  iconic forms particularly totemic figures and by dreams. For years he has kept journals of his dreams and inspirations, profusely illustrated with related drawings.  To capture these dreams abstraction is regularly required.   

He has also developed a personalized alphabet based on our regular alphabet and statements in his alphabet are included in  many of his works including a large panel in the Dufresne show.  With a little work you can interpret the statements and the paintings and give yourself a colourful spring experience

For more on Jurgens life and approach to art Google his name and access the www.virtualmuseum .ca website as indicated The Alex Dufresne Gallery is currently on winter hours. 10-5 Thursday through Saturday. 752-2282. 

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