Art Around Campus: Ted Colyer

The Beveridge Arts Centre is home to many displays of works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, and these displays are not limited to the gallery space. Walking around the building in search of artworks to include in blog posts gives me a great sense of discovery which I hope I pass onto you. Today, we are discussing world-renowned artist, Ted Colyer.

Born in 1947 in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Ted Colyer spent much of his young life living in the Maritimes, Ontario, British Colombia, and the Yukon. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University in 1971, and from 1972-75 studied traditional ukiyo-e printmaking under the direction of Toshi Yoshida at the Hanga Academy in Tokyo. In 1975 be began his professional career as a painter and printmaker and remained in Japan for 17 years (N.d).

“The Japanese have a word ‘shiubi’ which means quiet, understated, etc., which people there used to refer to my work. I was always looking for a balance between the technique and the subject matter and the feeling they evoked, but I wasn’t really aware of any theme when I was working. In retrospect I can see subjects which I return to (especially in my paintings) – trees, mountains for example. In my early years in Japan I was fascinated by the traditional architecture, so I think that is evident in the early woodblocks as well.”[1]

Colyer’s work is featured in collections all over the world, Including those of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Mount Allison University, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in California, and the Acadia University Art Gallery. He has exhibited solo in places such as (but not limited to) Tokyo, Philadelphia, British Colombia, and Nova Scotia, and jointly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Yokohama.

The Technique used by Colyer is called Woodblock, which begins with a sketch that is transferred to a block of wood. Knives and chisels are used to cut away unwanted areas leaving raised areas on the wood. These raised bits are exposed to the ink, which makes the impression on the paper. A block is carved for each colour. To make the print, ink is placed on the block and handmade paper called washi is placed on top of the block. The clock is then rubbed with a pad called a baren to transfer the ink onto the paper – this process is repeated until all colours are transferred onto the paper (n.d.).

If you would like to view some of Colyer’s works, they are on display in the main floor study area of the Vaughan Memorial Library in the Beveridge Arts Centre. Below are a few works you will find on display:

Colyer, Winter '84.jpg

Colyer, Stone Garden.jpg

If you have any comments about the work of Ted Colyer or this blog post, I encourage you to join the conversation below!



Alexandra (Collections and Outreach Assistant, Summer 2017)


Work Cited:

Acadia University Art Gallery Artist Files

Colyer, Ted. “About T. Colyer”. Nd. Retrieved July 28th, 2017.

Wanczura, Dieter. “Ted Colyer – Born 1947”. Artelino. Nd. Retrieved July 29th, 2017.



[1] Ted Colyer, Acadia University Art Gallery Artist Files, 2009.


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