By Melissa Shea
The Epic Painter is a retrospective exhibition showcasing Ronald Gyo-Zo Spickett’s work from the ’40s to the ’80s. In 1984, at age 58, the nationally and critically-acclaimed painter abandoned his studio and his full-time art career after he embraced Zen Buddhism and assumed the Dharma name Gyo-Zo.
The current exhibition, the first in 17 years, includes some of Gyo-Zo Spickett’s more famous works and series. Among these are "Stoning the Prostitute," the Rider Series, and the Laughing Series.
Gyo-Zo Spickett’s paintings are divided into three periods: first, a developmental period in which Spickett explored figurative art and achieved the respect of Calgarian colleagues; a short second period followed, earning him notice on a national level, as he explored non-objective art; and finally there is the third period, when Gyo-Zo Spickett returned to figural art.
Gyo-Zo Spickett’s personality is apparent in most paintings and drawings in the Triangle Gallery. The earlier Neo-Futurist paintings are more intellectual and less emotional.
In later paintings, the artist’s exploration of Zen doctrine is clearly visible. Abstract expressionist paintings, Mexican murals and oriental type ink washes, show a release of emotion and style which explores the human spirit.
The exhibition covers more than 30 years and most of the paintings are the best representations of Gyo-Zo Spickett’s work. The Epic Painter is showing until Oct. 30 at the Triangle Gallery in City Hall. Admission is free but donations are welcome.