This fall, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
invites members and visitors from near and far to experience Spring in Cambridge: the Visionary Drawings of John Devlin, an exceptional collection of works by this Nova Scotian artist. The exhibition, launched this Saturday, brings to life Devlins time spent at Englands Cambridge University in the late seventies. The 43 works exhibited at the Gallery include mixed media drawings and sketches, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack by the Kings College Choir, Cambridge.
Following an encounter with mental illness, Devlins studies in England were cut short and he returned home, where he began a creative journey after numerous years in and out of hospitals. During this time, Devlin used simple artist tools to create a utopian city inspired by his memories of England. Through this project, he re-invented a world based on hidden codes, symbols and ratios of an imagined island in Nova Scotia the artists fascinating version of a newly re-imagined Cambridge.
The exhibitions curator, Dale Sheppard, expressed how refreshingly inimitable the experience will be for visitors: It can be tempting to follow a more linear path when presenting a body of work, Sheppard said. But in this case, we drew inspiration from Devlins own investigative approach, allowing the overall experience to represent the mystery, depth and beauty of imagination and the human brain. Through this exhibition, visitors can embark on a special exploration along with the artist as he seeks wholeness and healing through his art.
Devlin's time in England proved to be a catalyst for both his artistic development and personal journey. When I experienced spring at Cambridge University 35 years ago, I entered a universal Myth, explained Devlin on the exhibitions theme. Keying into that mythos led to a near-inexhaustible supply of images and ideas. Some are bizarre, some are clear: but they all come from the same place - the other side of the looking-glass. In addition to Spring in Cambridge, Devlin is represented internationally in group exhibitions in Paris, London, and Lausanne (Switzerland) this fall.
This unique, not-to-be missed exhibition charts the artists physical, emotional and spiritual world through a utopian city that is sure to inspire. The exhibition will run from September 5, 2015 to January 3, 2016.