Artwork by Kenneth Campbell Lochhead,  Arboretum
Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Campbell Lochhead,  Arboretum Thumbnail of Artwork by Kenneth Campbell Lochhead,  Arboretum

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Ken Lochhead

signed, titled, dated 1979 and numbered 5/50 in the lower margin; unframed
22 x 30 in ( 55.9 x 76.2 cm ) ( sheet )

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Kenneth Campbell Lochhead
(1926 - 2006) Regina Five, Order of Canada

Ken Lochhead was born in Ottawa, in 1926. His interest in art began during his high school years. He was struggling in school, particularly with Latin. So, Lochhead and his grandmother persuaded his parents to enroll him in a summer studio course at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He earned a Matriculation Certificate from Glebe Collegiate in 1944, and took a commercial art course at the Ottawa Technical School of Fine Arts. Continuing his education, Lochhead attended a four-year undergraduate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia where he studied illustration, painting, and watercolour. Due to generous scholarships, Lochhead was able to travel and study throughout Europe in 1948.

In 1950, Lochhead was invited to teach drawing and painting courses at Carleton University in Ottawa. In the same year Lochhead won a painting contest sponsored by O'Keefe Brewing Company for his oil painting titled "Fishermen" (1949). The art competition was for artists between the ages of eighteen and thirty. He won $1000 and gained significant publicity and was invited to be the Director of the School of Art at Regina College. At only twenty-four years old, Lochhead was employed to establish the school and facilitate the Norman MacKenzie art collection. Immediately, Lochhead was inspired by his new location and began to explore his new home through painting and sketching. Lochhead was most curious about the villages and farm homes near Regina and began depicting them in his work.

The Emma Lake Professional Artists' Workshops, a summer artist program affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon was taught by Augustus Kenderdine. In 1955, Lochhead, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus (now the University of Regina), began teaching at the summer program.

His 1957 mural "Flight and Its Allegories" at the international airport terminal in Gander, Newfoundland, sparked Lochhead's interest in depicting birds in his works. In 1964, Lochhead moved to Winnipeg to begin teaching at the School of Fine Art at the University of Manitoba.

In 1960, Lochhead exhibited with Arthur McKay, Douglas Morton, Ted Godwin and Ronald Bloore in "Five Painters from Regina" at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Fondly known as 'The Regina Five', this group of abstract painters, along with Clifford Wiens, became an active artists community in Saskatchewan.

While in Winnipeg, Lochhead's paintings were still inspired by the natural world. By 1970, he began applying paint with a spray gun in a large downtown warehouse that had been converted into a studio. Lochhead continued to use this method during his time spent teaching at York University in Toronto, but eventually turned to other media upon his move to Ottawa to teach at the University of Ottawa in 1975. No longer using a spray gun, Lochhead began using oil, enamel, watercolor, and pastels to explore birds and the natural environment that surrounded him. Interested in the playful nature of birds he would often drive out of the city to draw natural landscapes. He also spent time exploring Ottawa's gardens and the Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm. Finally, Lochhead and his wife purchased a cottage adjacent to the Gatineau River in 1983. With help from his son, Lochhead built a studio in the woods near his house where he could observe the forest and incorporate it into his paintings.

In the early 1990s, Lochhead began to paint more figurative images based off of photographs. He painted portraits of random strangers, politicians, and eventually professional sports teams. Until his death in 2006, Lochhead painted the world around him in his studio in the forest or while on holiday in the Canadian Rockies and the Maritime Provinces. Lochhead has exhibited throughout Canada and the United States, including numerous solo exhibitions. He has been given the honour of the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Literature Sources:
Joanne Lochhead, Colour is of the Senses. University of Regina, 2018
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977

We extend our thanks to Danie Klein, York University graduate student in art history, for writing and contributing this artist biography.