Our next Artist You Need To Know is Walter Bachinski. Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Bachinski worked with the artist Frederick Hagan at OCA (Ontario College of Art) which he graduated from in 1959 and later obtained a Master’s Degree at the University of Iowa (studying under Mauricio Lasansky) in 1967. He was also an educator, teaching at the University of Guelph in the areas of drawing and printmaking, earning tenure in 1970 and a Full Professorship in 1984. He was there for a decade after that, before leaving teaching to focus on his art full time. Over his career, Bachinski has worked in a variety of media, ‘moving effortlessly from pastel and oil paintings, to drawings to sculpture’. (from here)
Art history has a strong influence on Bachinski’s work. He studied the murals of José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros in Mexico, and later the masterpieces of the late 19th and 20th Century (specifically French artists) in various collections located in France and the United States. “For Bachinski (and he is, of course by no means alone) the radical creativity of Matisse and Picasso opened possibilities (the ‘possible worlds of poetry’) in the making of art that are, at least as far as we know, inexhaustible.” (from here)
Looking over his career, there are definitive tropes that Bachinski focused upon, during distinct periods. His very early works were primarily drawing and printmaking in an exclusively monochromatic style. In the early 1970s, he expanded to sculpture in the round and relief printing. A number of themes shaped Bachinski’s art over the next decade: in 1975 he began his Mother and Child works, and shortly thereafter started producing images around the idea of the Artist and Model. After 1978 – 1979 – after spending a year in France – Bachinski became enamoured with more vibrant and expressive colour: this led to many of his still lifes executed with pastels. After leaving the University of Guelph, Bachinski ‘has devoted himself exclusively to his art in his studio in Shanty Bay, Ontario. In 1996, with Janis Butler, he established Shanty Bay Press and divides his time evenly between working on book projects and pastels, prints and sculpture.’ (from his site)
His work can be found in many collections, both public and private. These include the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Ontario, Art Gallery of North York, Ontario, Centre Saidye Bronfman, Montréal, Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Civic Museum, Lugano, Suisse, Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario, Government of Ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, Los Angeles, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Canada, Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nouvelle-Écosse, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal, Robert McLaughlin Art Centre, Oshawa, Ontario, Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Life Insurance of Canada, The Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario and the University of Guelph.
Bachinski’s ‘portraits and still lives are shaped by classical and contemporary affinities, hovering between figuration and abstraction. Delicate in their restraint and faithful to form, the works evoke a quiet introspection.’ (from the statement for his exhibition Allegories at the McLaren Art Centre in 2019).
Much more of Bachinski’s work can be enjoyed at his site.