David Gerry Partridge was a Canadian painter, etcher, sculptor, educator and past President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He was best known for creating works made of nails driven into wood to different heights forming representational or abstract sculptures which became known as "Nailies."
Studying geology and paleontology at the University of Toronto, Partridge’s background undergraduate work gave him a foundation as a developing artist. Early in his career, Partridge studied at Atelier 17 in Paris where he focused on etching and engraving. Carving into the copper and zinc plates to create his works on paper, the plates fascinated the artist as low-relief sculptures in and of themselves. Partridge viewed the similarities between the etched plates and aerial views of topography with the troughed line work creating map-like patterns. Partridge also attributed influences from Hungarian sculptor, Zoltan Kemeny, who created bas-relief sculptures with all manner of scrap metals, including nails, to his own practice.
While renovating and redecorating his home in Ottawa, Partridge happened upon spare wood and nails and was inspired to create his own nail sculptures—known as “Nailies” which developed from the idea of topography with varying levels created by the depth of the hammered nails in the wood forms.
His murals of nails adorn public buildings such as Toronto City Hall, Ottawa's Capital Congress Centre and York University's Scott Library. He won numerous commissions in Canada and the U.K. for his nail sculptures, including the work Cratered Column that showed at Expo '67. The Metropolis nail mural is one of the most popular attractions at Toronto City Hall.
His work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, the Gallery of New South Wales in Australia and the Art Gallery of Windsor.
Established in 1976, Gallery 78 represents artworks of established and emerging Atlantic Canadian artists.
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