Tom La Pierre's paintings are distinguished by his uncompromising dedication to his personal vision. His imagery is both surreal and symbolic. Throughout his life, La Pierre was preoccupied by contrasts: dark and light moods, playfulness, solemnity, ritual, life and death. The artist loved magic, instability, the bizarre, the absurd, pure intensity and the ecstatic. He was open. He detested rules. He enjoyed the unpredictable—he was part angel and part devil—drugged on the wonderous, mad and infinite parade of life.
A great image maker and individualist, Tom La Pierre (1930-2010) was remarkably prolific as a draughtsman, printmaker and painter. His imagery is strong, often complex and compelling and goes to the heart of the human condition. To experience La Pierre’s art is to encounter, in beautiful and very personal aesthetic terms, the unalloyed truths of man’s most profound emotions and concerns. His work possesses a philosophical side, a psychological aspect and an aesthetic which emanates from these and is inseparably bound up within him.
La Pierre found inspiration among a core group of artist from the early 20th century whom he made a lifelong passion of collecting. These include the German Expressionists, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and George Grosz; the British painter, Stanley Spencer; the American magic realist, Ivan Albright, and Canadian figurative artists—friends and mentors—Fred Hagan, Eric Freifeld, John Newman and John Alfsen, all of whom shared a great admiration for drawing. For many years, La Pierre travelled extensively to study in galleries and museums in the United States and Europe and to paint landscapes in oil and watercolour. La Pierre followed his own individual path as have the artists he most admired.
Tom LaPierre is represented in the AGO collection by four works: a self-portrait (1956), a major painting titled, Loved One Departed (1966-67), and two pencil drawings (1969 and 1971).
Art Gallery of Ontario; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Mississauga; Art Gallery of Peel; Rodman Hall Arts Centre; MacLaren Art Centre; University of Guelph; Wilfrid Laurier University; Carleton University; Concordia University; The University of Lethbridge; Georgian College; CIBC Wood Gundy; Nesbitt Burns; Crown Life; IBM Canada