Artist/Film maker, Wendy Wacko, was born in Toronto in 1951. After graduating from high school she studied art at Central Technical Art School and at the New School of Art - 1969 to 1972. In 1972 Wendy traveled to Western Canada on a painting expedition and settled in Jasper where she continues to live and paint. In 1977 Wendy had her first solo exhibition and is presently represented by the Scott Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta.
From 1979 to 1992 Wendy produced seven award-winning film productions for network television, including: Doris McCarthy - Heart of a Painter and Golden Fiddles Staring Kate Nelligan, Striker’s Mountain Staring Leslie Neilson, Challenge: The Canadian Rockies and the feature film, The Climb, co-produced with the BBC.
Wendy has recently created a second series of paintings from her travels to the Queen Charlotte Island, known traditionally as Haida Gwaii. Focusing primarily on the southern tip of Haida Gwaii, Wacko says “There is a strange undercurrent of positive energy, a spiritual presence that is undeniable. This powerful, isolated chain of islands is visually stunning and has lured creative souls from around the world to explore its shores, its mountains and its precious rain forests” Wacko’s paintings exemplify the ecological and cultural splendor of the Gwaii Haanas National Park.
Selected Commission and Collections: External Affairs - Government of CanadaAlberta Foundation For The Arts The Right Honourable Joe ClarkThe Young Presidents Assn. Envirofuels CanadaElectro Federation Canada Banff International Television FoundationCanadian Gas Association Royal Bank of Canada
Selected Awards: Alberta Achievement Award Outstanding Film of the Year, Canadian Film & Television Awards Sir Edmund Hillary Award of Excellence Silver Screen Award - Chicago Film Festival
Solo Exhibitions: 2000 "Ireland - North West Coast", The Scott Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta 2001 "Tuscany", The Scott Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta 2002 "The Big Road Trip and Beyond" The Scott Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta 2003 "Where the Jungle Meets the Sea, and Home Again" - Scott Gallery 2004 "Sweet Home Alberta", The Scott Gallery, Edmonton 2005 “Echoes in the Wind”, The Scott Gallery, Edmonton 2007 “Floating in Time”, The Scott Gallery, Edmonton 2008 “Queen Charlotte Islands”, The Scott Gallery, Edmonton 2009 “Return to Haida Gwaii”, The Scott Gallery, Edmonton
Tribute to Doris McCarthy 1910-2010
I have taken time I needed to reflect. Losing someone you Love deeply is difficult no matter how old they are. We have received so many messages daily from those who were touched by her work, by her spirit.
November 25th, early in the morning Doris passed away. The news spread fast. CBC radio from Calgary called before noon. It was too difficult to speak. Later in the day they called back. I had taken a drive to Jasper Lake and walked among the sand dunes where we had sat and painted so often and so many years ago. I was able to speak later that day and did my very best to explain how she had touched so many people in such a very positive way. An outrageous number of posts began to flood the internet. Some were wonderful tributes, some were self serving and I think in bad taste.The day that Doris passed away and all that week I had difficulty breathing. Imagining a world without my dear friend was impossible. We all knew it was coming however ten years ago when I could barely keep up to her grueling pace, we joked that it was clear she would live forever. December 5th at St. Aidan Anglican Church in Toronto a very powerful service took place. The church was lit up. The atmosphere was warm, and charged with emotion. A very large choir was behind the sanctuary and faced the congregation. The Church was adorned with Liturgical art original McCarthy's, the carving on the cross carried in the processional, the Christmas creche , wood carvings. A large wall hanging at the back of the church, and the Pall draped on the coffin, red with gold leaves, were all great works designed and crafted by Doris. I was asked to do one of the readings - It was a great honor. I practiced the piece 20 times and it was read with affection. I felt it was the last gift I could give her. Just a few days ago, I cleaned the mud from her grave side from my winter boots. For some strange reason that dirt made me feel close to her. Absurd , I know. Doris believed that God is Love, and that love exists deep in the heart of every man, and needs to be nurtured. Inspired by some of the intellectual controversial views expressed in "conversations with God," Doris believed that infinity reaches as far in as it does out, and that the past, present and future can become one.
If you knew her, you loved her. The most generous spirit, compassionate, and an immense passion for "Life Long Learning." My favourite written tribute was by The Honorable John McKay, Scarborough Resident. "Great art can define a nation, and define its image of itself. A painter of the Canadian landscape, McCarthy possessed more than mere brilliance at her craft, but also a deep insight into the profound connection that attaches Canadians to our solemn land. She continued the artistic traditions of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, building on their legacy and imprinting her vision of our natural world onto the Canadian psyche. As Pierre Trudeau once wrote: "I know a man whose school could never teach him patriotism, but who acquired that virtue when he felt in his bones the vastness of this land..." This is the spirit that moved Doris McCarthy, and it is a spirit which moves us still. She will be missed. " -Mountain Galleries Executive Director, Wendy Wacko