RFM McInnis

ARTIST PROFILE

Born in Saint John, NB in 1942, Robert Francis Michael (RFM) McInnis received a diploma in Fine and Applied Arts (1961) from the Saint John Vocational School under the mentorship of Fred Ross and D. Edwin Campbell. His art interests have generally leaned towards the figurative and landscape painting, while his photography has been toward historical interests, railways and prairie grain elevators. As a young man, he was a newspaper reporter and photographer with the Telegraph Journal and Evening Times Globe, Saint John, NB (1961 - 1962), followed by an opportunity as a Royal Canadian Air Force photographer (1962- 1966). Early on, he worked as a graphic illustrator, and was the Head of the Art Department and Artist in Residence at Prince George College, Prince George, BC (1968- 1971). At age 30, the artist moved to Toronto to paint. There he began to stress the figure as the main theme of his painting. Many of his Toronto accomplishments helped position him as a serious Canadian painter. Calgary came next. It was the year before the 'Boom'' which began in earnest in that city in 1978, allowing him opportunities to be represented in many corporate collections.

A move to Montréal with his wife Françoise, followed by time in Ottawa resurrected the artist's interest in eastern landscape and provided firm contacts and gallery representation in both cities. He has settled in Winnipeg after several other cross Canada trips and focuses primarily on the figure. He has painted the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin; James A Coutts; Peter Pocklington; Maureen McTeer; Margaret Atwood; Barker Fairley, Joseph Plaskett, Dorothy Knowles, Illingworth Kerr, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, among others. Although he is a trained photographer, he rarely uses photographs as the basis for his art, even the portraits, insisting upon working totally from life. RFM has completed several commissioned train paintings for the CPR, ALSTOM, RailPower, and the Central Western Railway. In 1998, the Library and Archives Canada acquired 30 years of Journals, writings and Papers of RFM, dating back to the late 1950's. Now known in perpetuity as the RFM McInnis Fonds 1957 to 1999. At the time important sketch books were also acquired. He has exhibited internationaly and his paintings are in many important public, corporate and private collections. In 2009 a painting was chosen for inclusion into the Legacy Collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB. A significant series of his work - The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue - which includes 13 panels of 60 figures from the 1980's art scene in Calgary by RFM McInnis has been acquired by the Glenbow Gallery in Calgary where it will be shown in 2016.

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