Ferguson's studio production represented an ongoing commitment to an examination of the conventions of painting and to the deconstruction of its strategies. He has made significant contributions to minimal, process and conceptual art through his "task-oriented" paintings, which involved the use of stencils, spray paint, household enamel applied with rollers, and similar utilitarian, commonplace materials and methods. Despite their matter-of-fact production and the artist's skeptical posture, the paintings display a surprising elegance and subtle wit. Ferguson's later works revealed his personal interest in such historical conventions as still life, silhouette portraiture and vernacular art in fine and critical tension with the question of painting's contemporary authority and relevance.
Ferguson was included in the defining show of conceptual art at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970 titled Information. Over the years his work was exhibited and collected internationally and nationally with important exhibitions in Cologne, Los Angeles, New York and Warsaw, and in Canada in Calgary, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa (NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA). A knowledgeable collector of Native and folk art, he donated "The Gerald Ferguson Collection of Nova Scotian Folk Art" to the CANADIAN MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION in 1985. In 1995 he received the $50 000 Canada Council MOLSON PRIZE in the Arts.
Author SUSAN GIBSON GARVEY