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Friday, October 9, 2015

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New book celebrates works of Josh Silburt

Tags: Arts

Born in Manitoba in 1914, Josh Silburt grew up in Winnipeg, rode the rails to Toronto during the Great Depression, and became a sports and political cartoonist for the Toronto Star, the Toronto Telegram and other newspapers. A committed Communist, he found it increasingly difficult to sell his political cartoons during the Cold War era, and so ventured into painting landscapes, building upon the style and perspective of the Group of Seven.

His son, Allan Silburt of Ottawa, has published an attractive coffee-table book, A Colourful Life: The Art and Drawing of Josh Silburt, which captures the richness of each phase of his father’s artistic career. The earlier sections of the book are filled with highly professional political cartoons, sports cartoons and other sketches. The second half of the book showcases Silburt’s fine oil paintings, sketch-pad drawings and acrylics of the Canadian wilderness in Muskoka, Algonquin Park and other quintessential Group of Seven locations; he also painted the Rocky Mountains and Alaska coastline. 

Silburt emerges as a first-rate talent with his own colourful stylistic take on the iconic Canadian landscape. “Josh developed his unique style of palette knife application of vivid oil impasto and later brushed acrylics, capturing the beauty and ruggedness of Canada,” writes his son.

Silburt, who died in 1991, was the subject of many one-man art shows, and his works were purchased by many private and public collectors around the world. The new book was published by General Store Publishing House ( and sells for $50. For more about the artist, visit


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Arts in Brief

• Music, dance and the spoken word comingle in singer-songwriter Donna Greenberg’s Burnt and Toasted!, a one-woman show about love gone wrong, co-created with Jordan Klapman. Tarragon Extra Space, 30 Bridgman Ave. Part of Toronto Fringe Festival; $10 at the door. July 5 to 13., 416-966-1062, ext. 1.

• The deadline is July 2 for the 2013 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. Details at or 416-924-6211, ext. 606.

• Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre seniors and boomers group features an afternoon of light, popular classical music with commentary by the Tost String Quartet. $3. Thursday, July 4, 1:30 p.m. for refreshments, program 2 p.m. 

• The 25th annual Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival features 148 shows in 35 venues, and runs July 3 to 14. For details, please visit

• Crazy for You, the musical featuring songs by the Gershwins, is on stage at Theatre By the Bay in Barrie, Aug. 8 to 30.


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At the Galleries

• TorontoTIME, by Harry Enchin, is an exhibition of photo-based collages that digitally combine images of the city of Toronto with modern-day images. At the Miles Nadal JCC Gallery until July 1.

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