A Duo Exhibition featuring
ROBERT BRUCE (1911-1980)
KEITH WOOD (1944-2018)


Show Runs May 11 - 27, 2023


Thursday, May 11, 2023

163 Clare Ave.

6:30 - 9:30 pm





Robert Bruce (1911-1980) was an artist and a professor at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. Born in Grandview Manitoba, his early training as an artist was under the tutelage of L.L. FitzGerald at the Winnipeg School of Art.

As a dedicated educator for 30 years, his teaching approach focused on good design and drawing. “The important basis is the drawing.” No matter where Bruce went, he had his sketchbook in hand and encouraged his students to do the same. Known for his unorthodox teaching techniques and materials, Bruce is lauded by many of Manitoba’s artists today as an inspiring teacher from whom they learned the most in their fine arts education. His daughter Katharine Bruce, a celebrated Manitoba artist is a testament to her father’s teaching legacy.

Bruce worked with a variety of styles and mediums, drawing, painting, printmaking, and mural compositions. He dealt with diverse subject matter including military illustration, landscapes, cityscapes, exemplary mosaics, and the human form. His work is distinctive for his use of exaggeration to increase the expressiveness of his subject. Reviewing the entirety of his career spanning 45 years, Bruce’s artistic output represents an extremely varied body of work.

Bruce was an extremely active outdoorsman. Whether skiing, swimming, canoeing, mountain climbing, his love and appreciation of nature inspired his life and his art.

This current exhibition at Soul Gallery focuses on artwork from the late 1950s-70s. The collection features select works demonstrating Bruce’s love for the Canadian shield, captured in the colored ink drawings of forest landscapes; to printmaking in the mid-1960 where his innate joy and humor are conveyed through various subjects; and the bright colorful monoprints of Mexico in the ’70s. Within a large body of monoprints, Bruce celebrates all his strengths to truly original ends, demonstrating his free and expressive drawing style with his impressive color sensibility, creating bolder and bolder blends as his experimentation with pigments progressed over time.

Soul Gallery is privileged to manage the estate of Robert Bruce with approximately 700 artworks consisting of oils, monoprints, lithographs, illustrations, and drawings in ink, pencil, and charcoal. The collection spans from 1930s to late 1970s.



Written by Shira Wood

My dad made everyone smile. His casual, friendly demeanor drew people to him and once he had your attention his storytelling kept you there. His stories were always colorful; some made you laugh, some made you blush and some just made you smile.

Dad was always excited to talk about art and loved seeing interest in all generations. When aspiring artists knew his work and were excited to chat with him you could see the glow inside of him. I don’t believe this was because it made him feel important, I believe this was because it excited him to see the same passion for art he had in others, the process, the emotion, the sometimes-unpredictable results, and the unbridled, unbreakable commitment to creating.

In his later years, my dad abandoned most societal norms to be able to create. He tried a few combinations, but the one that worked best for him was living in his studio. This involved challenges, but he loved his studio, and everyone who visited also loved being in his studio home.

There were a few studios over the years. But it was the last one at 80 Lombard, that felt most like home where he was the happiest. The high ceilings, worn hardwood floors, huge windows, walls shedding layers of chipped paint, the grand entrance that opened to this 3rd floor that had lived many lives, host to many generations of business and people. It was a building with a history and a story to tell and he loved everything about it. The more imperfect something was the more beauty he saw in it. The sound of the trains at night, the friends he made in the neighborhood, and even the stairs up to his door filled his soul.

I can still feel his energy when we would return to his studio, even toward the end of his life after hospital visits. As soon as his hand turned the key in the lock and the door opened, I could feel his happiness. He was home. His paintings and his process were what he lived for.

My dad lived true to himself and true to his process and passion.

My wish for you who view this collection is that you see with more than your eyes. This was my dad’s intention also. He didn’t believe in naming pieces. He wanted people to experience his art from their own perspective instead of looking for something he might have suggested in a title. He wanted to see the excitement in others when they experienced viewing something that spoke to them, touched them, and excited them.

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