Don Proch

Masking and Mapping


Since 1970, Manitoba artist Don Proch has built an astonishing body of work evoking a semi-mythical Prairie past and an unsettled and unresolved modernity. In his complex sculptures and life-size masks, Proch combines intricate draftsmanship with natural and found materials in surprising and transformative ways. Proch grew up in the farmland of north-central Manitoba. Using the rolling hills and unique parkland vistas of the Asessippi valley he creates a complex personal iconography based on prairie life, landscape, geology and history. The result is what art critic Robert Enright called “inexplicable as a miracle.”

Proch first came to the Canadian art world’s attention as part of a group of radical young artists in the 1970s, intent on shaking up the art establishment. His complex installations, masks, and silkscreen prints quickly established his reputation as an innovator with a unique vision. Today he is recognized as one of the most influential visual artists to come out of western Canada, and his work can be found in major public and corporate collections including Canada’s major art galleries.

Richly illustrated with more than 80 plates, the book includes rare excerpts from Proch’s notebooks that reveal his intricate working process. Surveying the course of Proch’s career, curator and art historian Patricia Bovey discusses the themes and influences behind his work and their context within the history of Canadian art.

About the Author

Patricia Bovey, LLD, FRSA, FCMA, is former director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and adjunct professor of Art History at the University of Winnipeg. She writes and lectures widely on Canadian art. She has served as a board member, and expert advisor to the National Gallery of Canada. Patricia Bovey was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2016.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A 360º Multidimensional Voice
Ch. 1 Farm to City: Quantum Transformations: 1940s to 1960s
Ch. 2 Preoccupations and Experimentation: 1970–1980
Ch. 3 Masks: Concealing and Revealing
Ch. 4 Layered Sources and Mixed Materials
Ch. 5 Prescient Societal Voice: Masking and Mapping: 2010 Forward
Ch. 6 Technical Approaches: Sketchbooks and Processes
Epilogue: A Place Secure