An artist whose work systematically celebrated and documented White Rock is the subject of a retrospective exhibition now on display at White Rock Museum and Archives.
Morosan: The Man Who Painted White Rock will be on show in the museum galleries (14970 Marine Drive) until May 21.
From the mid-1990s until his death in 2008, Vojislav (Voja) Morosan painted scenes that were virtual love letters to his adopted home town.
A familiar sight around town – it seemed that everyone knew the friendly, soft-spoken man behind the easel, wearing his trademark straw hat and accompanied by his faithful Yorkshire terrier Pebble – Morosan painted waterfront and uptown street scenes plein air, with what the museum describes in a media release as “a high key palette and a realistic style filled with optimism.”
In Morosan’s bright, colourful canvases a clean, freshly-scrubbed White Rock seems perpetually bathed in sunshine. But although his view may have been slightly romanticized, his commitment to detail was notable, and his works live on, not only as emotional evocations of a time and place, but also as historical documents.
As illustrated by the show, which features works from the 1970s until his death, Morosan had an interesting and varied artistic life even before he came to the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
Curated by Charlene Garvey with the assistance of Morosan’s business partner and strongest champion – his widow, Norma – the exhibit brings together many aspects of the artist’s lifelong involvement with beauty and history.
Born in worn-torn Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia – then under Nazi occupation – Morosan grew up in a Europe gradually freeing itself from the dark vestiges of the Second World War.
In 1965 he travelled to Switzerland, then on to France, where he studied art for three years, supporting himself by moonlighting as a car mechanic.
In 1968 he emigrated to Canada, settling in Ontario, where he established a reputation for painting evocative streetscapes featuring historic buildings.
In 1982 he met and married Norma – and it was originally she who fell in love with White Rock, ultimately urging them to sell up and move to the west coast in 1996.
But, as Morosan’s paintings attest, he was an immediate convert to – and passionate advocate of – the charm of the city.
Morosan: The Man Who Painted White Rock is part of an ongoing commitment by staff and leadership of the the Museum and Archives to preserving heritage and sharing the city’s story by reaching out to the community from its base in the city’s historic 1912 waterfront train station.
For more information, visit www.whiterockmuseum.ca or call 604-541-2221.
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