Artwork by Toni Onley,  Glacial Boulders, Savary Island, B.C.

Toni Onley
Glacial Boulders, Savary Island, B.C.

oil on canvas
signed lower left; titled and dated 1984 on the stretcher
30 x 40 ins ( 76.2 x 101.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $5,192.00
Sale date: September 24th 2020

Private Collection, Toronto
Toni Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man and was educated in England and Mexico. After the passing of his first wife, Mary, Onley moved to Penticton, British Columbia. In this new locale Onley found inspiration for his most celebrated landscapes. Employing muted cool palettes of greys, blues and greens, the artist explored the way light plays with the simplified forms within nature to create ethereal and moody atmospheres.

Frustrated and dissatisfied with his work while studying in Mexico, Onley ripped up a painting in progress into small pieces. The oblong shapes of the destroyed work inspired the artist to play with the arrangement of pure form and adopt this technique in his practice. “Glacial Boulders, Savary Island, B.C.” exemplifies the artist’s ability to use minimal design inspired from his early collage experience, emphasized by delicate colouring to capture the calm and meditative landscape of Canada’s west coast. A remote destination, Savary Island is accessible only by ferry or plane, and is known for its white beaches, swimming waters and sweeping views of mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

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Toni Onley
(1928 - 2004) ARCA

Widely known for his distinctive landscapes, British Columbia artist Toni Onley was born in 1928 on the Isle of Man and was educated in England and Mexico. He made his first trip to the Arctic in 1974 and later published “Onley's Arctic: Diaries and Paintings of the High Arctic”. His work has been the subject of a critical study by Roger Boulet entitled “Toni Onley, A Silent Thunder”. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Onley published Toni Onley's “British Columbia: A Tribute”(Raincoast, 1999) and an autobiography, “Flying Colours: The Toni Onley Story” (Harbour Publishing, 2003), as told to Gregory Strong, which recounts his victory as a 'Rolls-Royce rebel' who fought against Revenue Canada on a personal taxation issue, threatening to burn his paintings.

Onley died on February 29, 2004 in a single-plane accident when he crashed his plane into the Fraser River while presumably practicing landings and take-offs.