October 1st, 2016 marked a day in history for 94-year-old Joseph Connolly. It was on this day that an effervescent smile brushed his face while watching twenty-eight of his large-scaled paintings being installed before his eyes. It is now, several years later, that Connolly is reunited with a few of his beloved paintings, which were concealed in a Montréal storage. That Montréal storage was a time capsule of over a hundred pieces of Connolly’s artwork. A selection of his paintings are now being featured for the first time ever and Toronto’s Twist Art Gallery is playing host.
Before paintbrushes and stretched out canvas, Connolly was formally trained as a businessman; the owner of a women’s clothing company. By the time he was 50, he had sold the successful company to explore the road untraveled.
Connolly swapped his commerce way of thinking for an abstract way of looking at the world. He originally wanted to dip his toes in the arts by participating is a class or two to learn the various painting techniques. After being informed that he wasn’t allowed to take one class, and that he had to be a registered student, he took the plunge and enrolled at Concordia University, in Montréal, Québec. It was during the 1970’s that Concordia University embraced the young-at-heart artist and reconnected Connolly with an artistic passion that would consume him in his Montréal studio for 35 years.
Connolly’s current solo exhibition reflects the influences of his generation. His artwork varies from bold geometric abstraction to passionate brush strokes that paint the flower beds that resemble the fervor techniques of French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.
It is now - because now is a better time than any – that the wisdom passed on from businessman and artist is being told with the support of his family. Connolly embodies the true meaning of art, what it means, and why we value it. At 94, Connolly is living proof that a person’s creative ambition is the patient warrior guiding us to our triumphant accomplishments.
Joseph Connolly’s solo exhibition is being held at Twist Gallery, located at 1100 Queen St. West, Toronto. It is open to the public from Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm, October 1st to October 29th, 2016.