Graham Metson was born and grew up in London during the Blitz and studied at the College of St. Mark St. John in London in the 1950’s. Metson has had a long and prolific artistic career, having exhibited widely since the 1960’s. His early work included performance and “happenings”. He came to Nova Scotia in 1972 to teach at NSCAD and has spent every summer since at a cottage in Shediac, New Brunswick. He says he considers himself a Maritimer. In 1986, Metson moved to Montreal to teach at Concordia University for 18 years. He has also been as Summer Head of the Visual Arts programme the Banff Center for the Arts. Since 2003, Metson has lived and worked in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Metson’s paintings hang in private and public collections in the United Kingdom, the United States and in Canada. He is the author of “The Halifax Explosion” and “Alex Colville, Diary of a War Artist.”
Metson is a colourist and figure painter following an English tradition; but his work is also rooted in abstract expressionism. “American abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell my most favourite painter”, says Metson. “But I want some kind of reference beyond the paint and the texture.” Metson is a romantic figure.
This piece is from the series, IMMOLATION from 1992. IMMOLATION was displayed at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Tom Smart, then Curator of the gallery wrote about the exhibition:
“In Metson's work there is an unsettling urgency to the figures’ actions, as if they were racing through colour fields, running in terror from an ambiguous threat or approaching it in awe. Paintings, drawings and collages of the mid 70’s through to the mid 80.s attest to a persistent concern to express through the figure, in a gestural manner, metaphors of the spirit of the times and of the belief in “ the inextricable link of all things, thoughts and events”. This phrase encapsulates his conception of history and sheds light on his use of historical sources. For Metson, art is complete, integrated reality which exists in the present. In having at hand all of history, he is free to create different perceptions of the familiar by challenging traditional pattern of thought or description.”