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"McUS" 2005 Obituary


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McCUSKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-03-09 published
Gerald GLADSTONE, Artist: 1929-2005
Determined and prolific sculptor who won several major commissions at Expo 67 shot as brightly as a comet through the Canadian art scene and then gradually burned out, writes Sandra MARTIN
By Sandra MARTIN, Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - Page S9
His name is only vaguely familiar now, but Gerald GLADSTONE, a self-taught artist and musician, was a huge force in Canadian art in the 1950s and 1960s. Short, stocky with curly hair and a fiery personality, he had a spiritual conception of the cosmos and our place within it, a vision which he interpreted in monumental yet dynamic welded steel sculptures.
Born in Toronto in 1929, the year of the stock-market crash that precipitated the Depression, he was the sixth of nine children of Ralph and Dora GLADSTONE. A dynamic, feisty boy, he disliked the discipline and structure of school. His younger brother Joseph says his teachers let him do all the class art projects and simply passed him in other subjects year after year, until he got fed up and quit at the end of Grade 8 and went to work.
In those days, he was as much a musician as he was an artist. He taught himself to play the clarinet and formed a jazz band. He was also a sharp dancer and loved to go jitterbugging with his sister Rose. "He was very pugnacious, very proud of being Jewish and very up front about it and it often caused him difficulties in his social life," remembered his brother David.
He married artist Sheila McCUSKER when he was in his very early 20s. Allycia, the eldest of the couple's six children was born in September, 1953. Mr. GLADSTONE built an easel on a hinge on the wall over her crib so that he could paint and draw after he had come home from work and she was sleeping. By his own count, he had close to 30 jobs in 14 years, eventually working at Rapid Grip as a commercial artist and attaining the position of art director with McLaren Advertising before he quit to devote himself to art.
Mr. GLADSTONE built a shack out the back of their house in the Beach area of Toronto, "breaking every fire law under the sun," according to his brother Joseph and making sculptures that one observer described as "a blowtorch blending of gramophone speakers, wheel rims and wire waste baskets." He would work furiously and when he heard an inspector was coming, he would clean up like mad, his brother said.
He was one of the group of artists exhibited by Av ISAACS in the 1950s that included Michael Snow, Gordon Rayner, Graham Coughtry and Tony Urquhart. Mr. Rayner remembers "Gerry playing a mean Dixieland clarinet" at parties. His work did two things at once, said Mr. Urquhart. "It was expressionistic and at the same time it was coming to grips with technology. Some of the ones I particularly liked, partly because I hadn't a clue how he would do them, were these big sculptures submerged in big blocks of lucite."
"To pick up a welding torch and use it in the service of sculpture was an avant-garde thing to do" in those early struggling days when "people were still bashing at stone," observed critic Gary Michael Dault. Mr. GLADSTONE's sculptures, with their welded steel rods and whirling discs, looked adventurously modernist in the all-too-provincial Toronto of the 1950s.
Curator Dennis Reid says Mr. GLADSTONE's cosmic vision was a great strength. The actual sculptures -- the cones and rods -- read on both a galactic level and on a microscopic one, too, he says. "That is where their energy lies and I think it hit a chord in the late '50s and early '60s. It took right off."
In 1959, he received his first Canada Council grant and the family, which now numbered several children, packed up and went to London, where he studied at the Royal College of Art. There, he met the British sculptor Henry Moore and visited him at his studio. Influenced by Mr. Moore, he began experimenting with figurative work.
Shortly after returning from England, Mr. GLADSTONE became involved in Toronto '61, a collective show organized by his younger brothers Joseph and David. Joseph, who is now a retired elementary school principal, was heading out to Vancouver to teach. He and his brothers went around to all of their brother's artist Friends and collected three or four pieces of art from each of them on consignment. They boxed the works, shipped them to Vancouver, held a show and then shipped the work of a number of Vancouver artists back to Toronto.
After studying in New York on another Canada Council grant and achieving modest success through a couple of galleries, Mr. GLADSTONE moved back to Canada. He was part of the opening exhibition for The Isaacs Gallery when it moved to its new premises on Yonge Street in 1961, but he and the gallery soon parted company. "He was a ballsy guy -- feisty is the word," says dealer Av ISAACS, who represented Mr. GLADSTONE for about a decade.
Although he thinks Mr. GLADSTONE did some interesting work, he says he "was a very pushy guy and I just didn't need it."
He was the only artist to net three commissions for Expo 67 in Montreal. He created Uki, the 12-metre, fire-spewing mechanical dragon that haunted a lagoon for the Canadian government, a space column for the Engineer's Plaza and a towering fountain for the amusement park at La Ronde. His commissions amounted to about $250,000, but expenses gobbled up most of it, leaving him with about $35,000, some of which he plowed back into his work -- although he did allow himself the purchase of a black Steinway grand piano.
He was so hot in 1967 that he told the late journalist Blaik Kirby in The Globe that the price of his sculptures had doubled in the previous two years. "People say I'm so lucky, but they forget that for 20 years I invested more money than I made in my work," the artist said. "I believed I was an artist when no one else did, except a few close Friends."
Only three years later, he was penniless again, complaining that Canada didn't understand him and that the Canada Council was shunning him. Still, he had an exhibition of his plastic cubes (many of them borrowed from private collections), and his Downtown Nudes, a poetic calligraphy of weaving lines on raw canvas, as the opening exhibition at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in downtown Toronto.
From his home in Victoria, Mavor Moore, then general director of the centre, remembers choosing Mr. GLADSTONE because "he had worldwide dreams and the technical skills to realize them, and at the time my colleagues and I thought his works would give the launch an exciting cachet. But he managed to alienate many of his more nationalistic fellow Canadian artists, and the sole 1970 anecdote I recall is Harold Town's immortal summation of the exhibit: 'Gerry GLADSTONE is the only sculptor in the world who can weld shit.' "
And then, this artist who had shot as brightly as a comet through the Canadian art scene for a decade, burned out. He still had commissions, but he was no longer a force. Among them were the Three Graces, a fountain and bronze sculptures for the Ontario government buildings at Bay and Wellesley streets in Toronto, Female Landscape, a fountain and bronze sculpture for Place Ville Marie in Montreal, a fountain and precast concrete sculpture for a Martin Luther King memorial in California, and a fountain and sculpture in Canberra for the government of Australia. He made a six-metre sculpture called Universal Man to stand in front of the C.N. Tower, but it was damaged when the Sky Dome was built and found a new home in a parking lot at Yorkdale Mall in the north end of the city.
He had to hustle because he had only his art to support his wife and six children. But there were other factors. He moved from gallery to gallery, having arguments with artists and dealers and even the Canada Council. He also changed styles, moving away from his early constructivist welded sculptures to embrace painting and figurative work. In the process, he seemed to lose his vocabulary and his energy. Artist Gordon Rayner admired the early steel sculptures, but he thought his paintings were really like graphic sketches for sculptures and he didn't much fancy his figurative sculpture.
Dennis REID, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, thinks he didn't survive the change in art that happened in the 1970s. "We all talk about the death of painting, but it was also the death of any kind of figuration in sculpture, by and large for that period of time, and the rise of conceptual and performance art.
By the late 1970s, he had left his wife and begun a new relationship. With his new partner, Lorraine, he moved to Vancouver hoping to win commissions at Expo 86, and eventually returned to Ontario where they settled in Beaverton in the early 1990s. He continued to make art, although now he was working mainly with smaller pieces. The Art Gallery of Ontario gave him a small retrospective in late 2003, linking his current work with his early monumental sculptures and his plastic cubes. By then, he had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Earlier this winter, his spleen became dangerously enlarged and he went into hospital for surgery. He died on Monday morning.
Gerald GLADSTONE was born on January 7, 1929. He died of leukemia on March 7. He was 76. He is survived by his second wife, Lorraine, six children from his first wife, and several brothers and a sister.

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McCUSKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-03-09 published
GLADSTONE, Gerald
Died peacefully at St. Michael's Hospital on March 7, 2005 at the age of 76 after a very courageous battle against cancer. Loved and cherished by his children Allycia (Peter), Stephen (Carmella), Seana (Gordon), Lawrence, Angela, and Brant (Jackie), and step-daughter Lisa, his second wife Lorraine, his grandchildren Krysten, Anthony, Aaron, Lara, Jennifer, Gemma, and Alexa, his sister Rose (Louis), his brothers Henry, Irving (Lillian), David (Jacqueline), Joseph (Elizabeth) and Leonard (Nicole), and his many Friends. He is predeceased by his parents Dora and Ralph and his brothers Russell and Benny. He is remembered fondly by his first wife Sheila McCUSKER. Gerald was one of Canada's premier artists. Born and raised in Toronto, Gerald, for over 50 years, painted and welded a vast variety of paintings and sculptures that were shown in galleries around the world. He is represented in many major private and public collections. He created many public works of art for cities across Canada and internationally. One of his largest sculptures, "Universal Man", originally created for and displayed at the C.N. Tower, is currently installed at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. A major public fountain, "The Three Graces", commissioned by the Ontario government, stands in front of the Mowat Block at Bay and Wellesley streets in Toronto. His "Reclining Female", commissioned by the Royal Bank of Canada, adorns the upper terrace of Place Ville Marie in Montreal. Gerald will be greatly missed by his family and Friends. His art, humour, sound advice, and his discussions related to art and music are a legacy that continues to enrich us all. The family would like to thank sincerely the staff of St. Michael's and Princess Margaret Hospitals for all the wonderful care and attention they gave Gerald. It is the family's wish that any donations in appreciation of Gerry's life and work be made to either of those institutions. A memorial reception will be held at a later time and place to be announced.

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McCUSKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-12-08 published
CAMPBELL, Edward V.
(15 year member of the Newmarket Soccer Club)
At Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie on Wednesday, December 7, 2005 in his 58th year. Edward CAMPBELL, beloved husband of Myra and dear father of Heather McCUSKER and her husband Fraser, and Karen BRAMHAM and her husband Stephen. Proud grandfather of Cameron and Malcolm McCUSKER, and Ashley BRAMHAM. Brother of Norman and Ian CAMPBELL. Memorial service will be held at the Roadhouse & Rose Funeral Home, 157 Main St. South, Newmarket on Saturday at 11 a.m. Memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated.

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McCUSKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2005-12-17 published
COSGRAVE, Ronald Everett
Unexpectedly and with much sadness, the family announces the passing of Ronald on Friday, December 16, 2005 at the Humber River Regional Hospital - Church St. Site, in his 79th year. Beloved husband of Heather (formerly RODRIGUES.) Loving father to Jan McCUSKER and the late Bryan COSGRAVE. " Grampa Pipe" to Keegan and Kiley McCUSKER. Friends may call at the Turner and Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W., at Windermere, east of the Jane subway, on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 from 12 noon until the time of Funeral Service in the Chapel at 1 o'clock. If desired, remembrances may be made to the charity of your choice.

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