Doug Carter

making visual art and playing the blues


It was 1980 and I had found myself drafted into becoming the President of the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Artists Inc..  They needed an “artist member” to fill that spot and they hadn’t been able to find any “artist member” until me to fill the vacancy.  Nobody interested?  I was soon to find out why.  Though I had heard about the project the Inc. was undertaking at that time, “Climbing the Cold White Peaks”, I was unaware of the internal battle raging over what year the book’s timeline should start / end, who to include and where etc..  I sat through some long, long meetings, obliged to attend as ‘Prez’ but not allowed to have a say, just listen, listen, listen. But hey everything finally got settled and Stuart MacCuaig’s book got published.   I still pick it up and read from it now and again.  And it was my introduction to the ‘politics’, the way things worked within non-profit art organizations.

Never went to art college or university…..went on the road with a rockin’ blues band.

I started creating ‘paintings’  using paints and collage in 1973. Participated in my first art exhibition in 1976, a group exhibition at the short  lived “Peace Gallery’ located on the east side of Ottawa Street  a few doors south of Cannon.  In 1979 I felt I had enough work to approach the Hamilton Artists Inc. (which I had recently joined) about a solo show.  By then I was using found materials along with paints and collage in my work. I was given an exhibition in the summer of 1981. The administrator of HAI at the time, Gordon T. White, selected the pieces to be shown ;in the exhibition.  I was off and running.

Party 9 MIles
Party 9 MIles, 1980, Hamilton Artist’s Inc., Hamilton, ON

Around that time I had started sketching ‘live’ at the various music venues around Hamilton  I attended when I wasn’t  playing gigs myself.  After I saw an exhibition of wood cuts based on live sketches by Franz Masreel at the Art Gallery of Ontario it inspired me to start making wood cuts from my sketches.  After showing my prints in several group shows., in 1988 I was asked by the Carnegie Gallery Dundas, to have a solo exhibition of them, ”Dances, Weddings Rhythm, Blues”

Rockin’, 1989, Carnegie Gallery, Dundas, ON

In the mid 80s I also started experimenting with clay and with the help of ceramicist
Colleen O’ Reilly, I created a series of small relief sculptures using stainless steel automobile trim I found walking and bicycling around town which I embedded in chunks of sculptural clay and ‘painted’ in various places with ‘one stroke colour’ glazes with a clear gloss glaze over all.  We fired them in Colleen’s raku kiln. This work resulted in an exhibition at Gordon White’s “Kinnel Street Gallery” in 1988 and a second exhibition in 1989 at the Burlington Art Centre.

Self-Portrait 1989

Self-Portrait, 1989, Burlington Arts Centre, Burlington, ON

In the early 90s I became a regular participant in Denise Lisson and Jim Mullin’s group exhibitions at their Hammer Gallery, 10 James St. N..  In 1995 I had a solo exhibition there, “Under the Gun”.   Simultamely I also exhibited under the same title, an exhibition of my latest print series created while I was spending a year as administrator of HAI’s Printspace printmaking collective.  

The Drawer WhoThought He Was A Boy, The Hammer Gallery, Hamilton, ON

In early 1994 I was hired by the Dundas Arts & Craft Association to be the assistant administrator at their Carnegie Gallery. In the fall of that year their administrator at the time  left abruptly and I was promoted to ‘Administrator’, a post I held for 10 years. During that time I created the Carnegie’s website and organized and created several invitational group shows of Hamilton and area artists.

In 1998 I was asked to participate in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s upcoming “Countdown to the Millenium” exhibition series  and put together an exhibition of ‘found material / assemblage artists, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” was assembled It included Ray Cinovskis, Chriseddie, Chris Hartnett, Brian Kelly, Jim Mullin and myself and was exhibited in 1999.

Three Wise Guys, 1999, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON

In 1959 I was creating ‘picture’ covers for the 45 rpm records I collected using magazine photos and construction paper to give a brief image for the song’s story.  40 years later in 1999. I was curating and participating in an exhibition at the Art Gallery Hamilton.

Written by Doug Carter

06/01/2023 at 7:46 pm

%d bloggers like this: