By Wendy Elliott
A retrospective of printmaker David Silverberg’s work will hang at Jack’s Gallery in Wolfville from Feb. 2–March 31.
Silverberg was born in Montreal in 1936. From an early age, he displayed a talent for drawing, and by the age of seven, was attending art classes given by Group of Seven master Arthur Lismer at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
After attaining a BA from McGill University in 1957, he made the decision to pursue art. That same year, he traveled to Paris to study etching and engraving. There, as part of the art community, which included Marc Chagall and Max Ernst, he began to develop his unique personal style.
Silverberg’s chosen medium, engraving, dates to the 15th century and is one of the most unforgiving of traditional artistic media. It is a form of printmaking in which the artist, with a sharp tool called a burin, incises linear marks in a metal plate to form the desired image. When ink is applied to the finished plate and it is run through a printing press, the image is printed onto paper.
Close observation of Silverberg’s work reveals multiple layers of line, pattern and colour, which invites the viewer to look deeper and wonder at the skill, imagination and time taken to bring these engaging images to life.
The natural world and the human figure feature prominently in his work. Influenced by his observations of the world around him and travels to over 80 countries, his work brings insight into the form, lives and surroundings of the vast array of people and experiences.
“I have always loved to draw. I found it a wonderful way to learn about life everywhere. I have been very fortunate,” said Silverberg.
As a teacher, Silverberg has influenced countless students and artists around the world. He spent 23 years sharing his knowledge at Mount Allison University. In 1991 and 1992, he taught and exhibited in China at the invitation of the Chinese government. He was artist in residence at Acadia University from 1995 to 2000 and recently donated his collection of nearly 1,000 fine art books to the Vaughan Memorial Library.
His work is recognized and admired globally and has been included in more than 120 group and 200 solo shows in cities. His work has also be part of numerous group exhibits with such greats as Salvador Dali, Picasso and Marc Chagall. His distinguished awards and credits include membership in the Royal Canadian Academy and the Royal Society of Art in London, England.
Silverberg lives near Wolfville and never stops working. Currently, he is just about finished a rather large suite of line engravings depicting airplanes of the 20th century. A suite of engravings of his granddaughters, Rachel and Naomi, is almost complete and he is also adding to his suites celebrating flowers, birds, lovers, his heritage, animals and landscapes.
The opening reception and film takes place Feb. 2 from 2-4 p.m. The show runs until March 31.