Big news, Quill fans! We’re pleased and excited to share the news that PQL author, editor, and all-around awesome Quill friend Tom Smart will become the new Director and CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a cultural gem that strives to recognize and celebrate Canada’s two official language communities as well as the culture of the country’s First Nations Peoples. It is known for its collections of British and Canadian (particularly Atlantic Canadian) art, and it has a reputation for presenting dynamic, engaging and diverse artistic content for all.
Of course, we think that with his tireless enthusiasm, his unparalleled store of knowledge about Canadian art, and of course his impressive resume and publications list, Tom will be a huge asset to the gallery.
In light of this exciting news, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of some of the great work he has accomplished in recent years.
Who is Tom Smart?
- A gallery director, curator, essayist, speaker and organizer of numerous exhibitions about Canadian and international art
- Author of many award-winning books that explore the relationship between poetry, printmaking and the book arts, journal writing and painting, and graphic novels and wordless narratives
- Has been recognized with a silver medal in the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards and one in the eLit Awards
- Regularly writes for the Devil’s Artisan, Canadian Notes & Queries, and the Saint John Telegraph-Journal
- Has worked in art galleries across Canada and the United States, including the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, the Frick in Pittsburgh, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and now, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
What has he worked on?
- Four books for the Porcupine’s Quill:
- Palookaville: Seth and the Art of Graphic Autobiography, a consideration of the autobiographical elements found in Canadian cartoonist Seth’s Palookaville series of graphic novels.
- Thoughts on Driving to Venus, a judicious selection of journal entries revealing stream-of-consciousness impressions, journalistic accounts and personal reflections from the ‘car diaries’ of painter Christopher Pratt.
- Fabulous Peculiarities, an examination of the bold style and unique visual lexicon of Canadian artist Tony Calzetta.
- Jack Chambers’ Red and Green, an attempt at decrypting Chambers’ ‘unpublishable manuscript’ of quotations and ideas reflecting on the paradox of life, on his own mortality and on the nature of art.
- Several long-form pieces for the Devil’s Artisan:
- ‘An Alice of a Different Order’ in DA 80, an investigation into the ‘imagistic ecosystem’ surrounding the work of emerging Toronto printmaker Tyler Bright Hilton.
- ‘Heading to Palookaville’ in DA 78, which considers the complexities of self-identity in the ‘holistic’ artistic practice of Gregory Gallant.
- ‘Fabulous Peculiarities: Tony Calzetta’s Prints, Drawings, Paintings and Bookworks’ in DA 76, documenting the evolution of the artist’s unique and complex visual aesthetic.
- ‘Dan Steeves: What Lies Unseen’ in DA 73, an illustrated examination of the work and career of renowned Canadian intaglio printmaker Dan Steeves.
- ‘The Wood Engravings of Rosemary Kilbourn’ in DA 70, illustrated with details of nineteen of the artist’s images.
- ‘From Wood Engraving to Graphic Narrative’ in DA 68, which provides a primer for the work of wood engraver George A. Walker, and for the wordless novel format.
- Many other monographs on Canadian art and artists
- Essays for the Saint John Telegraph-Journal
What are people saying about his work?
- “Tom Smart has done an extraordinary job of compiling, deciphering and interpreting Chambers’ perceptual philosophy. That he has done so in clear, unambiguous prose, free of critical or academic affectation, is an achievement in itself. The Red and Green manuscript that he has forensically recontructed is more than just an artistic or perceptual manifesto, it is a testament to Jack Chambers’ deeply self-transformative vision.” —Christopher Dewdney, award-winning Canadian poet and author
- ‘Informed and informative, profusely illustrated, impressively insightful, and thoroughly “reader friendly” in organization and presentation, Palookaville: Seth and the Art of Graphic Autobiography is a “must” for the legions of Seth fans.’ —Midwest Book Review
What should I read next?
- The Art of P. K. Irwin by Michèle Rackham Hall
- The Emblems of James Reaney by Thomas Gerry
- Out of the Wood by Rosemary Kilbourn
- Off the Wall by Tony Urquhart and Michael Philips
Where can I find more about Tom Smart?
- On his website
- In this Carte Blanche interview
- In Foreword book reviews
- In the Beaverbrook Art Gallery media release
Congratulations, Tom, from all of us at the Porcupine’s Quill. We’re so proud!