Ron Giii

Ron Gillespie was born in 1944 at New Westminster, BC. His earliest training in art took place in 1962-64 at H.S.C. Prince of Wales College, Nairobi, East Africa. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1975. Giii established a signifant performance art practice during the 1970's which led to the co-founding of the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC). By the early 1980s he had moved into drawing while retaining a strongly performative element in the compositions. Philosophy, geometry and the anti- modern figure prominently in the work with influences including Artaud, Darwin, Hegel and Spinoza.

In 2008, Giii's work was the subject of a touring survey exhibition, Hegel's Salt Man. This long overdue survey brought together a selection of work that ranges over 35 years. A key figure in the city's vibrant performance scene in the 1970s, Giii went on to develop a practice notable for the depth of its engagement with artmaking and its associated philosophical issues. The show featured some of the artist's early work, performance documentation and other ephemera, a selection from his voluminous writings and more recent drawings and oil stick paintings, and was accompanied by a 48-page catalogue, with essays by Rosemary Heather and Eli Langer. The exhibition was curated by Rosemary Heather and organized by the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Scarborough. The catalogue is available at Paul Petro Contemporary Art.

Exhibition History
2021
2020
  • Lithium Ion Critique, film, directed by Gaye Jackson
  • Canaries in a Coal Mine, group exhibition, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2019
  • Geometry Street, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Art Toronto, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Papier 19, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Geometry Street, Headbones Gallery, Vernon, BC
2017
  • Kathy Acker Award
  • Tributes and Tributaries 1971-1989, group exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • Mike Hoolboom’s Book on Underground Funnel
  • Performance of Internet Christ, Cinecycle, Toronto
2016
  • National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives
  • Is Toronto Burning?, group exhibition, York University Art Gallery, Toronto
  • Screening of Taste, Super 8mm Film Festival, Cinecycle, Toronto
  • John Porter Book on the Funnel Film Center
  • Book launch of Oxygen Theatre, Impulse Magazine, Toronto
2014
2013
  • Papier 13, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2012
  • Papier 12, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
  • Hegel's Salt Man, Survey exhibition, Doris McCarthy Galery, University of Toronto (with catalogue), Toronto
  • Throwing Words Off A Bridge, Paul Petro Contemporary Art
2006
  • The Identification Theater, (performance with Veronica Hunik, ABC No Rio, New York, NY
  • On Representation, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • The Atomic Theater, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Independent Curator's Selection, Headbones Gallery, Toronto
2004
2003
2001
  • Hydrogen, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto
  • Group show, The West Wing gallery, Toronto
  • Drawings in new acquisitions show, Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto
1999
  • Drawings accepted into Edmonton Art Gallery
  • Group show of photographs at Sayde Bronfman Centre, Montreal
1998
  • Group show at Tableaux Vivant Gallery, Toronto
1997
  • Wrote text for ABC No Rio performance, Chocolate Soup
  • Drawings accepted by Windsor Art Gallery.
  • Piano CD recording, Ron Giii Playing Solo, published by Random Parallel Gallery, Toronto.
1996
  • Published text in New York entitled, What Language Are We Having for Dinner?, collaboration with Bruce Eves.
  • Recent acquisitions show, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
  • Drawings accepted into Carlton University Art Gallery, Ottawa.
1995
  • Heavy Mental (group show, cur. Philip Monk) The Power Plant, Toronto (catalogue)
1992
  • The Geometry Shop, Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto
1991
  • The Bourgeois Opera, Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto
1990
  • The Anti-Conscious, The Atomic Theatre, Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto
1989
  • The Gas Works, Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto
1988
  • Body Is A Loaded Word (group show), Evelyn Aimis Gallery, Toronto
1987
  • The Dictator's Opera, Cold City Gallery, Toronto (brochure)
1986
  • The Atomic Theatre and The Dictator's Opera, 49th Parallel, New York (brochure)
1985
  • Group show at Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY
1983
  • New Acquisitions exhibition, Ottawa.
  • Group show at Power Plant Gallery, Toronto.
1982
  • Founder of TRY Organization Theatre Co. for ex-mental patients
  • Produced, directed and wrote text for production of The Outer and Inner Universe performed by members of TRY Organization, Art Resource Culture Gallery, Director, Derek Dowden, Toronto
  • Produced, directed and wrote text for Schizophrenic Opera, TRY Organization Theatre Co. Joseph Workman Auditorium, Toronto
  • Wrote text House with no Rugs, performed by TRY Theatre Co. Cameron Tavern, Toronto
  • TRY Organization Performance at Rivoli Rest, Toronto
1981
  • Lecture and Performance at Remont Gallery, Warsaw, Director Henry Gajewski
  • Performance Reading from Text on Polysexuality, Published by Semiotexte, New York Mercer Union Gallery, Toronto
1980
  • Contexual Performance and reading of text, entitled Jupe, A Space Gallery, Director, Peggy Gale
1979
  • Appointed Director of Television Production Studio, Toronto
  • Organized, Language Art Performances, Poetry readings, video screenings, Performance Art Open Exhibits
  • Produced, directed and wrote script for Video Body Art Performance entitled, Belt 23 mins, colour, æ inch format.
  • Video Tape Body Art Performance shown on European tour of Missing Associates, Lilly Eng and Peter Dudar
1978
  • Group Theatre Performance, Alternative Space, Detroit City
  • Contextual Performance, CEAC Gallery Toronto
  • Invited to attend International Performance Festival, Remont Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
1977
  • Performance at London Art Gallery Feb 16th
  • Contextual Art Performance, Franklin Furnace Gallery, New York, Director, Martha Wilson
  • Behaviour Performance, Pier 52, New York, March 24th
  • Wrote text The Last Individual, performed on Pearl St. CEAC Gallery, Toronto
  • Text on Marxism and Alienation published in ACE Magazine, CEAC Gallery , Toronto
  • Performance, Lecture, Seminar at Joseph Beuys, Free International Univ. Documenta 77, Kassel, Germany
  • Performance, Lecture, Seminar, Univ. of Lecce, Italy, Leece., Director Franco Geli, Publisher of Genetic Art Magazine
1976
  • Spontaneous People Show, Organized and performed at CEAC Gallery, Toronto
  • Perception Room (design) Summer of 76, CEAC Gallery, Toronto
  • Body Art Performance, entitled Katchibatta, CEAC Gallery, Toronto
  • Body Art Performance, entitled, The Biological Beggar, CEAC Gallery, Toronto
  • St. Petri Lund, Sweden, Director, Jan Sellen
  • Body Art Performance, Kunstmarkt, Dusseldorf Art Fair, W. Germany
  • Body Art Performance, Lecture with students of Ferrara University, Museo de Arte Moderna, Director, Lola Bonara
  • Body Art Performance at the ICC, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Body Art Performance at Salvatore Ala Galleria, Milan, Italy, Director of Gallery, Salvatore Ala, Nov 2nd
  • Screening of Super 8 mm film of Body Art Performance on Marlene Elasz CEAC Gallery, Open Screenings, Toronto
1975
  • Founder of Shitbandit Organization
  • Organized show of Performances Art, drawings, sound recordings, video screenings, body-art, texts and installations. Gallery 76, Toronto
  • Art Gallery of Ontario Chair Show Curated by Alvin Balkind, installation work
Permanent Collections
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Museo de Ferrara, Video Franklin Furnace Archives, Video (Museum of Modern Art, New York)
  • York University Library Archives
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • Edmonton Art Gallery
  • Windsor Art Gallery
  • Ronald Feldman Art Gallery, New York
  • Carlton Art Gallery, Ottawa
  • Art Metropole, Toronto
  • Carlton University, Ottawa
  • Jessica Bradley, Toronto
  • Ricco-Maresca Gallery, New York
Education
1962-64
  • H.S.C. Prince of Wales College, Nairobi, East Africa
1972-75
  • Ontario College of Art, Hons. A.O.C.A. (Lieut. Gov. Gen. Medal)