Gordon Caruso (1923-2004) is a prominent west coast artist who made Salt Spring Island his home beginning soon after he retired in 1989 from a distinguished career as an educator. He taught at the University of BC, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver School of Art and Langara College. Beginning in 1952 at the San Francisco Museum of Art while he was doing post graduate studies at the California School of Art, Caruso began exhibiting and enjoyed early success with his decidedly abstract art. His work is in many important private and corporate collections. In this exhibit, we have chosen to show works from his time on Salt Spring as a remembrance of his creative life here.
During this period, Gordon Caruso actively concentrated on collage and mixed media construction using wood, clothing and natural materials. These constructions will be well represented in the exhibit. A selection of mixed media paintings on paper - studies for larger works - will be shown as well. These paper works incorporate his oft-used theme of 'symbols'. Caruso stated that,
"Symbols can be interpreted in different ways by both the visually illiterate and the visually literate. My work has to be measured in the depth of my insight and courage of realizing my own vision. Observers usually are conditioned by their fears and hopes and learning experiences, but if the viewer can escape these demands then perhaps some implications of my work can be felt."
While on Salt Spring Island, Caruso exhibited at the Vortex Gallery. Deon Venter, then Director, stated in press material that "although his marks, pointers, scratches as well as appendixes often suggest serious subject matter - such as loss, trials and tribulations - the end product seems positive and celebrates the rejuvenation process." to complete the exhibit, a large painting from his Emma Lake series will be shown.