From the 1960s to the present Tom Willock has photographed wildlife and the landscapes they and we inhabit. He works with film and a traditional darkroom. For this exhibition of small works, the artist has gone back into his archives to find images of mountains, wildlife, the prairies, small towns (or the remains of such) that span his activities from the 1960s into the new millennium. Tom’s medium and large format photographs showcase his skill both as a photographer as well as the depth of his knowledge as a printer of fine art gelatin silver prints.
(also known as gelatin silver prints)
Since the early 1960s Tom has photographed with the traditional film based gelatin silver process developed in the 19th Century. He has used a variety of medium and large format cameras over the years, such as a 4x5” Toyo, a 5x7” Dierdorf, Linhof, Bronica, Sinar P, Crown Graphic, and a 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ Hasselblad. He began, in his teens, with a Brownie Bullseye Camera that used 620 film.
Tom Willock anticipates his finished prints. Using the zone system, developed by Ansel Adams in the early 20th C., Tom ‘visualizes’ in black and white in order to compose his image. He photographs with film in a traditional medium or large format camera. Tom is a master print technician with a significant history of work in the darkroom. Each of his photographs / prints is individually hand-produced, which contrasts with the current context of digital technology and mass production.
Tom's gelatin silver prints are selenium toned, processed to archival standards, signed and dated. Some images are limited in their edition. They are framed to archival standards with 100 percent rag museum board.
During BISQC 2019, we were very pleased to host The FourSet Quartet from the Phil & Eli Taylor Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Wonderful music played wonderfully by a very talented youth quartet with backdrops of terrific art, including works by Tom Willock.
A graduate of the University of Alberta and Carleton University, Ottawa, he began his career in natural history and photography at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. His landscape and wildlife photographs have been widely published in both Europe and North America.
Tom was Director of the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery from 1978 to 1998. While there he did extensive darkroom work with the photographic archives housed at the museum and much of the photography required for museum exhibition catalogues, publications and books. He was active on the Museums Alberta Board (he served on the Editorial Board, as Treasurer and as President between 1994 and 1999). He was a private museum consultant and he was a founding-trustee of the Alberta Heritage Foundation Board. Tom is author of the natural history book A Prairie Coulee (Lone Pine Press, 1991) and has written numerous articles on museums, photography, and natural history.
Alberta Foundation for the Arts Collection
Glenbow Museum, Calgary
National Collection of Nature Photographs, National Museum of Natural History, Ottawa
National Audubon Society Collection
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park
Coutts Collection, Toronto
University of Lethbridge, Coutts Collection
Hawk Communications, New Brunswick
City of Medicine Hat Collection
Medical Clinic, Cochrane
Medicine Hat College Collection
Esplanade (Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery) Permanent Collection
KPMG, Boston, Mass.
Grassland Naturalists, Medicine Hat
Waterton Natural History Association, Waterton Lakes National Park
Canada, Europe, Japan, Cayman Islands, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States
Workshops with John Sexton (California) and Freeman Paterson, RCA (New Brunswick)
1965/69, Master of Science, Carleton University, Ottawa
1964/65, Special Student, Zoology, University of Alberta, Edmonton
1961/64, Bachelor of Science, General Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton
2019, juried into EQUI exhibition at Alberta Legislative Assembly (due to funding cuts exhibition cancelled.)
"Ron Brown, A Few of My Favourites: Tom Willock and Susan Sax" guest curators, Whyte Museum Of the Canadian Rockies, Banff
2013-2016, "Immersed in Waterton - Tom Willock" TREX Program Travelling Exhibition, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
2014, LANDSCAPES, Banff Public Library venue for Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
2010, "The Desert, The Mountain and The Cloud Continued" Lebel Mansion Gallery, Pincher Creek, AB
2010, Summer Salon, Scott Gallery, Edmonton
2008, Selected Works, Four by Five Gallery, Calgary, AB
Exposure 2006-Waterton Lakes National Park, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, AB
The Desert, The Mountain and The Cloud," University of Alberta, Extension Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Landscape as Muse-291 Film Company: Tom Willock, Douglas Haynes, Peter von Tiesenhausen, group exhibit, Willock and Sax Gallery
The Desert, The Mountain and The Cloud," Scott Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Featured Artist, Lethbridge Gallery Walk, Galt Museum, Lethbridge, AB
Momentum-Selected Works from the Art Collection, Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Recent Work, solo exhibition, Willock and Sax Gallery
2004, Camera in Hand: Picturesque Images of Alberta, group exhibition, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Travelling Exhibition Program
2003, Boundary Markers, Solo Exhibition, Scott Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2002, Solo Exhibition, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, AB
2000, Solo Exhibition, Willock and Sax Gallery, Waterton Lakes National Park
1999, Gallery Artist Exhibition, Scott Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1998, Two-person Show, Medicine Hat Cultural Centre
1995, Solo Exhibition, Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary, AB
Solo Exhibition, Dynes Gallery, Medicine Hat, AB
Group Exhibition, Waterton Heritage Centre Gallery, Waterton Lakes National Park
1982, Group Exhibition, Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery
1997, “Kia ora Aotearoa”: Welcome to New Zealand, Grassland Naturalists, Medicine Hat, AB
1996, Museums in New Zealand, Alberta Museums Association Conference, Banff, AB.
1991, A Prairie Place, Waterton Natural History Association, Waterton Lakes National Park
1991, Museums: Community Makers, Medicine Hat Kiwanis Club
1990, A Prairie Place, Historical Society of Medicine Hat & District
1990, Preserving Community Heritage, Milk River Chamber of Commerce
1990, Prairie Perspectives: A Century of Change, Grassland Naturalists
1990, A Land Use Perspective, Prairie Conservation Coordinating Committee, World Wildlife Fund Canada
1985, Wildlife Photography in Southern Alberta, Medicine Hat Camera Club
1984, The Photographer’s Eye, Lethbridge Camera Club
1984, The Fine Art Print, Lethbridge Camera Club
1977, Natural History and Landscapes of Southern Alberta, Lethbridge Photo Club Annual Banquet
1975, Speaking of Natural History, Federation of Alberta Naturalists
1975, The Growth of Humility, Camera Canada College, National Association of Photographic Art, Banff, AB.
1970, A Day from Mountain to Prairie, National Gallery, Ottawa
2006, Waterton Lakes National Park with Tom Willock, Landscape as Muse Series, Episode 25, 291 Film Company & Bravo TV. Screened through Bravo TV, SCN (Saskatchewan Community Network), Knowledge TV, AVRO Broadcasting (Netherlands).
“The Cabin”, Legacy, Alberta’s Cultural Heritage Magazine, Spring 2007:6-7.
“Medicine Hat South”, Legacy, Alberta’s Cultural Heritage Magazine, Winter 2000:31-32.
“Elements of Wilderness”, Alberta Museums Review, Summer 1997. Vol. 23, issue 2:35-37 + cover.
A Prairie Coulee. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishers, 1990.
“Natural History of the Allerston-Masinasin Area”, Allerston History, 1990.
“Kishinena”, Nature Canada, July/September 1973.
“Shortgrass Sentinels”, Animals, September 1972.
The Ecology and Zoogeography of Fishes in the Missouri (Milk River) Drainage of Alberta. Mimeo. M.Sc. Thesis, Carleton University, 1969.
“The Water-Dripping Owl”, Animals, August 1969.
“Distributional List of Fishes in the Missouri Drainage of Canada”, National Museum of Natural Sciences Brief, 1969 J. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada 26:1439-1449.
“New Alberta Records of the Silvery and Brassy Minnows, Stonecat and Sauger, with a Preliminary List of Fishes of the Milk River in Alberta”, Canadian Field-Naturalist, 1969 Vol. 82:18-23
Life of the Far North; The Mountain Barrier; The Nature of Mammals; Owls of the World; The Rockies; Fishes of Alberta; A Guide to the Freshwater Sport Fishes of Canada; Into the Wilderness (National Geographic); Andy Russell for “Andy Russell 1915-2006” by Sid Marty in Legacy Magazine Winter 2005; photography & editing for 1992 exhibition catalogue Come Walk With Me: A Luke Lindoe Retrospective; cover for Tony Rees 1995 non-fiction Hope’s Last Home, Travels in Milk River Country; cover for Margaret Atwood 1979 novel Life Before Man; numerous other photo stories, articles and book reviews.
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park: As a photographer with a history in the Waterton/Glacier area, Tom's black and white photographs offer a view over time of change within the park. Yet, they step beyond that immediate image and provide a visual record that is timeless. Tom achieves integrity by the continuity of his thought and strong technical expertise: from setting up the composition, taking the photograph, to working through the process in the darkroom. His work is considered 'straight' photography, which belies its constructed nature. His interaction with the landscape, sometimes over a number of years, to attain his perspective of that landscape, instills an enduring element, more often felt by the viewer than consciously articulated. Tom's photography is elegant, still, and offers glimpses at the eternal.
"My sense of myself is inseparable from the land. My photographs have no purpose, no intention, beyond the truthful expression of my own inner vision, reflections of human experience and the natural landscape. A quality of art is its simultaneous expression of particular and universal. For each of us, the expressive print will hold its own particular meaning and beauty."