Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents

Event Dates:
  • Mon July 6, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 13, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 20, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 27, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon August 3, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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  • Event Cost: By Donation
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The Penticton Art Gallery is thrilled to present the first-ever Canadian exhibition of the internationally celebrated pop culture icon and American artist, Bob Ross. I, like millions of others, was captivated and seduced into the world of art by his public television series The Joy of Painting. Like millions before me it was an invitation to try my own hand at landscape painting.

Growing up in Vancouver in the early 80s with only a dozen TV channels to choose from, it wasn’t long before I discovered KTCS 9 public television, with its quirky shows, documentaries, and best of all, no commercials. Years earlier in grade five we had artist Daniel Izzard come visit our class. Within an hour I watched in amazement as he created a world right before my eyes. This was the first time I remember seeing an artist in action, and it’s made an impression. I don’t recall exactly when I first encountered Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, but it would have been by accident as I idly flipped through the dials waiting for something to come on.

Bob Ross was a magician, one who could pull a landscape out of thin air. I was immediately seduced by the ease with which he could articulate a landscape that was nowhere in particular yet totally familiar at the same time. In the solitude of our basement I even tried to paint along, cobbling together whatever craft paints we had lying around to little effect or success. As I grew into my teens, my interests changed, and as the years passed my memories of Bob Ross faded and morphed from a magician to a pop culture icon and purveyor of kitsch.

While serving as a tribute to the artistic legacy of an artist whose name and work is as well known, this exhibition looks to explore the deeper questions around nostalgia, high and low art, art history, the cult of celebrity, pop culture, the art market and ultimately what is worthy of being exhibited and preserved in our museums. Bob and I both agree there are no wrong answers and I am fascinated to explore these questions.

The Penticton Art Gallery owes a great deal of thanks to Sarah Strohl and the team at Bob Ross Inc., and Elizabeth Bracey of the Visual Arts Center in Loudoun County, Virginia, which hosted the first gallery-curated exhibition of Bob Ross paintings.

Paul Crawford, Curator

Exhibition runs July 4 – September 13 

Monday-Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday-Sunday: 11:00am – 4:00pm