Biography of NORMAN ANTHONY (Toni) ONLEY

ONLEY, Norman Anthony (Toni)  A/RCA, BCSA, CPE, CSPWC (1928-2004). Born in Douglas, Isle of Man, England, Onley studied under John Nicholson; and at the Douglas School of Fine Art (1942-1946). He came to Canada in 1948 and continued his studies with Carl Schaefer at the Doon School of Art, Doon, Ontario (1951); at the Instituto Allende, San Miguel, in Mexico (1957-1958); under Clement Greenberg at an Emma Lake workshop in1962; and at the Atelier Birgit Skiold, London, England (1963-1964). He came to Brantford, Ontario in 1948, and lived in Vancouver, British Columbia since 1960. Working oil, watercolour, acrylic, collage, pencil and various print mediums including silkscreen, lithography and etching, he is best known for his loose, West Coast often almost mono-chromatic semi-abstract landscapes featuring rock forms, clouds and water. He also painted in remote wilderness areas of British Columbia and in the Canadian Arctic (first trip 1974), which he accessed by flying his own airplane. He completed a series on glaciers in 1984, and also painted in Greece, Hawaii, Cornwall, and Japan. His early work was more representational, and after 1957 he explored collages in an Abstract Expressionist style. Onley taught at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1967-1976). He received a Canada Council award in 1963, and exhibited with the RCA in 1953-1970, the MMFA in 1960-1970, at the Paris Biennale in 1961, and the Venice Biennale in 1972. He held solo exhibitions at the Commonwealth Institute in London in1965, at the BAG in 1969, the VAG in 1978. His work is in the collections of the AGGV, AGO, CCAB, LC, MAC, MMFA, MOMA, NGC, SAM, Tate Gallery, VAG, VAM and WAG.


Biography courtesy of The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction: Volume III: M-R

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