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Gordon Reeve was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1946, to Bert Reeve and Audrey (Burrell) Reeve. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1971) from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Master of Fine Arts (1973) from the Rhode Island School of Design. Reeve moved to Winnipeg and began lecturing at the University of Manitoba in 1976, where he served as a professor and Sculpture Chair at the School of Art until 2013. He specializes in public sculpture and sculpture in the urban environment.
Reeve’s first commissioned sculpture was "One Edgel Road," a 1500-lb, 20’ bronze fountain erected in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1972. He sculpts using a variety of materials, including wood, blown and cast glass, marble, concrete, onyx, stainless steel, bronze, and granite, and many of his works incorporate kinetic, light, digital, or buoyant elements. His sculptures have appeared across the United States, Italy, and Canada. He is the creator of "Drumlin" (1977, Winnipeg Art Gallery), "Justice" (1985, Manitoba Provincial Court), "Les Mefagerriques" (2007, Ottawa), and "Agassiz Ice" (2008, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg), among others.
In 1987, Reeve began his career as a filmmaker with "Harvest – The Tradition," a 13-part series. He directed nineteen more films between 1987 and 2002. Many of his early films are records of art exhibitions of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Vladimir Baranoff Rossine, Marcel Duchamp, Otto Dix, Wassily Kandinsky, Antoine Bourdelle, Ossip Zadkine, Auguste Rodin, Constantin Brancusi, and Ivan Eyre. These include "A Language to be Seen" (1987), "The Father He Never Knew" (1987), "Statues That Will Sing" (1987), "Enigma" (parts one and two, 1987)," I Must Paint What I See" (1987), "Future Imperfect" (1988), "The Music of Colour" (1988), "In Hidden Gardens" (1988), "Brancusi Miastra" (1988), and "I Am the Hornblower" (1988).
In 1988, Reeve directed his first feature-length documentary, "The Will to Win (La rage de vaincre)," about Canadian architect Carlos Ott, who won the bid to design L’Opera Bastille in Paris. The documentary, shot on 16-mm film in Monaco, Paris, Venice, Montevideo, Verona, New York, and Toronto, features Luciano Pavarotti, Barbara Hendricks, and Theresa Berganza, as well as Formula 1 drivers Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The accession contains archival footage filmed in La Fenice, Venice, and The Arena, Verona.
In 1990, Reeve produced, wrote, and directed "Moment of Light – The Dance of Evelyn Hart," his second feature-length documentary, co-produced with the National Film Board of Canada. The film follows renowned Winnipeg ballet dancer Evelyn Hart as she rehearses and performs across Winnipeg, Munich, and Paris. The film received a number of awards, including the Red Ribbon Award at the American Film and Video Festival, the Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Bronze Apple at the National Educational Film and Video Festival, and the Bronze Plaque at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival. The accession contains archival footage filmed in Palais Garnier and La Scala, Milano.
Other films in Reeve’s filmography include "Walks Fast Woman" (1992-1993), "Blue Salute" (1997-1998), "Right to No" (1996-1998), and "Harawi – Olivier Messaien" (2002).
Reeve has been involved in many art initiatives in Winnipeg. Every year between 1992 and 2007, he organized THE BURNING, a collaborative class sculpture project which involved the creation of a six-to-twelve-foot high combustible sculpture. The event attracted hundreds of viewers.
In 2009, he requested inclusion of sculpture in the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition, the only art competition across Canada at the post-secondary level, which prior to that time had featured only two-dimensional art. His request was successful; the following year, both the national and provincial winners were graduating students from Reeve’s class.
Reeve also initiated Art on the Avenue, a $120,000 collaboration with the Winnipeg Downtown Biz to fund twenty sculpture students to create large-scale sculpture works on Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. This project led to the creation of the Collaboration to Promote Art and Music, jointly funded by the University of Manitoba and University of Manitoba Student Union, which is ongoing.
Reeve received the Student’s Teacher Recognition Award/Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the University of Manitoba in 2008, 2010, and 2012. He formally retired from teaching in 2013.
Winnipeg, Munich, Paris, Tokyo, Monaco, Venice, Verona, New York, Toronto.
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Created by Jarad Buckwold and Marta Dabros (February 2013). Revised by N. Courrier (July 2019).