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Ken Wallace (1945–2023)

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By Keith Wallace

Posted on June 12, 2023 | Updated June 23, 2023, 9:01am

Filed in Faculty, Staff, Students

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Artist and ECU professor emeritus Ken Wallace. (Photo courtesy Keith Wallace)

Ken, who taught at ECU for close to 30 years, is fondly remembered by family, friends, colleagues and his many students.

Ken Wallace, a much-respected teacher of painting and drawing at Emily Carr College of Art and Design (now Emily Carr University) for close to 30 years, passed away peacefully at his home in Vancouver on Monday, June 5, 2023.

Born in 1945, Ken gained recognition early in his career for his paintings that melded abstraction with references to the landscape. In 1980, Jack Shadbolt wrote, “[Ken] is a daring handler of mediums capable of a wide variety of nuances, but these are validated in his temperament by his equally wide-ranging appetite for imagery. His virtuosities are the healthy exuberances of a growing artist, and always, after a period of trial, his artistic correctives reassert the authenticity of his statement. He is an artist with vision and his images are his strength.” His interest in the landscape continued to be a central part of his painting practice and later work focused on the changing patterns of colour, light, and reflections upon water.

He is also noted for his work in stop motion animation, in which his film Thanksgiving (1972) was among the most celebrated at the 1975 Annecy Film Festival (France) and was later purchased by the National Gallery of Canada.

Ken Wallace attended the Alberta College of Art and the Banff School of Fine Arts on scholarship. He graduated with honours in animation and painting from the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) in 1973. Joining Emily Carr faculty in 1980, he retired from teaching in 2009. In 2010 he was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Painting. In 2018 he was bestowed Professor Emeritus at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Ken is fondly remembered by his family, friends, colleagues, and the many students who benefited from his critical thinking, generosity, encouragement, and wicked sense of humour. Over the years, his work has been presented in over 60 solo and group exhibitions and is held in the collections of National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, Simon Fraser University, Surrey Art Gallery, University of Lethbridge, as well as many private collections.