Bert Weir remembered in Sudbury as friend, artist, teacher

The art community in Sudbury is remembering a painter who reflected much of the north in his work. Bert Weir died recently, at the age of 92. His work can be seen in Laurentian University's library and the collection at the Art Gallery of Sudbury.

Weir's paintings purchased for Art Gallery of Sudbury, Laurentian University

Bert Weir's 'Golden Rod Wave.' (supplied by the Art Gallery of Sudbury)

The art community in Sudbury is remembering a painter who made his life's work depicting the the northern wilderness in Ontario.

Bert Weir died recently, at the age of 92.

Weir's daughter writes in his obituary that when her father could no longer hold a pencil, he questioned the point of living.
Bert Weir died on March 23 at the age of 92. (Logan's Parry Sound Funeral Home and Chapel)

Born outside Windsor, Ont., Weir lived much of his life in Parry Sound, venturing north into the bush to paint.

His daughter writes, again in his obituary, that Weir "spent his lifetime in the bush in northern Ontario on a quest to depict the beauty, power and reality of nature in paint. His passion for the flow of energy between himself and the delicate ecosystem of nature and his emotional response to it has been his life's work. Bert's deep connection to nature, both spiritually and physically was the core to his being."

Sudbury artists remember Weir 

Sudbury artist Ray Laporte remembers Weir frequently coming to Sudbury to teach. Weir would give constructive feedback to Laporte and artists Mary Green, Dennis Castellan and Heather Topp when they gathered for a drawing circle.

Weir also taught in schools around the northeast, says Laporte.

"He was just loaded with enthusiasm," he said.

"He really liked people and he really liked for people to learn by doing,"

Anong Beam is an artist from Manitoulin Island. Her father, Carl Beam, was the first Indigenous artist to have work purchased by the National Gallery of Canada as contemporary art. He was also friends with Bert Weir. 

Beam says her memories of Weir are from her childhood and blurry, but she still has a souvenir to remember Weir by: his recipe for hermit cookies.

Weir's paintings in Sudbury

The curator of the Art Gallery of Sudbury says they collected twenty of Weir's paintings .

Demetra Christakos says Weir's style was to paint big, abstract landscapes.

She says he painted as though he was dancing becasue the canvases were so large.

"At that time, this lyrical approach and even use of colour that Bert was working with was not really what was the norm in the painting world," she said.

Nevertheless, says Christakos, Weir never compromised, in life or art, during his decades long career.

"He did what he did, with intent." she said.

Weir's family is planning a memorial service for April 8.

with files from Kate Rutherford