USSR
Operation Lemon E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   

One of Eric's ‘Russia Stories,’ 1954

It was seven o’clock one evening two years ago when I found myself talking to a companion in a room of the National Hotel in Moscow. My companion was Canada’s number one, two or three, painter, according to who is calling the mathematics. I am one of the fractions. He is 74 or 5; I am 46 or 7. He is a great artist. I am an artist. Both of these statements are my own, and while I believe they are true I can supply a respectable army of dissenters culled from the rancours of contemporaries. They may be right. I have no way of knowing because I am not dead yet...

...For a reasonable period we “got along famously”, partly because he realised we were both foreigners to the Russians, and partly because in those rare moments when he listened to my views he toyed with the idea that I might possibly be human. Our communication was considerably eased by the fact that I believe all artists are basically human, and I am willing to fight for this belief. Which is one reason why artists do not approve of me...

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A Visit to the Leningrad Academy of Arts Institute E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Ice Cream Vendor, Moscow :: Collection of Margaret Bridgman
At the height of the cold war “Red Scare,” in 1954, Eric went with a small Canadian arts group to tour the USSR, sponsored by the Canadian Soviet Friendship Society. The Society announced that they would fund a tour of the USSR for 14 Canadian painters, architects, musicians, actors and dancers. Despite the wide promotion for the trip, only 6 Canadians boarded the plane for the USSR: artist Eric and Group of Seven artist Frederick Varley with four francophones: Michelain LeGendre, puppeteer and marionettist; Charles Lemoine, poet and radio critic; and Mr. and Mrs. Pierre St. Germain, a newspaper writer (his wife was a social worker). The entourage included no musicians, architects, or ballet dancers as was previously advertised. “It was enough to make me uneasy, but because Mr. Varley persisted, I persisted, and so we found ourselves with this mixed group who did not know each other,” wrote Eric later. Add a comment
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Nothing Uninteresting book cover

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Nothing Uninteresting

The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

By Michael B. LeBlanc

Print Book, 186 Pages

CAD$36.67

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When you go up to Whiterock Lake or Whiterock hills, Killarney Hills, you feel as though you’re walking over the bodies of Gods, human beings; it’s an extraordinary experience which you can’t translate except in painting. In other words, I was in love with the landscape and I translated in terms of the human being because as you recognize (or do you?) that this was a human figure, an ambiguous one but nevertheless it’s a figure which is sprawling. And that’s my own poetry.

-Eric Aldwinckle