Bertram Charles [B.C.] Binning
A leading Canadian artist, B.C. Binning was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on February 10, 1909. Binning came from a line of architects and had planned to follow their lead but during his adolescence he became ill and instead turned to drawing. In 1927, he began studying at the Vancouver School of Art under Fred Varley. In the 1930s, Binning studied in New York City at the Art Students League and in London under Mark Gertler, Amédée Ozenfant and Henry Moore. He returned to Canada in the early 1940s, settling in Vancouver.
Binning was an excellent draftsman and exhibited drawings throughout Canada. He began to paint in oil in 1948. His first paintings were of boats, of which he produced an important body of work. His later paintings became stylized seascapes and by the 1960s, his work was purely abstract.
In 1949, Binning was first appointed to the Vancouver School of Art having been invited by Fred Lasserre, the first director of the School of Architecture at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He taught art to the architecture students—one of his lessons being that art, architecture and life are intimately connected. Shortly afterwards he founded the Department of Fine Arts at UBC, which he headed for a quarter century. He became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971. He retired in 1974 and died in Vancouver March 16, 1976.
Although it has been more than 30 years since Binning's death, his art continues to attract new attention and admiration. His strong sense of design, brilliant and subtle use of colour and interesting experiments with texture allow his paintings to speak to a new generation of artists and designers, who recognize Binning as one of the major figures in the history of modernism in Canada.
His works can be found in many private and public collections, including the Art Gallery of Toronto, Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Heffel Gallery Ltd., Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery.