Circle / Square 1988
Circle / Square
Ron Kostyniuk was born in the small community of Wakaw, Saskatchewan, in 1941. He studied at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, receiving a Bachelor of Art in Biology and a Bachelor of Education in 1963. He taught high school biology in schools in Manitoba and Alberta while beginning his artistic practice. Kostyniuk later went to Edmonton’s University of Alberta, where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1969, and to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a Master of Science in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts in 1971. He became a professor at the University of Calgary that same year. Kostyniuk’s art is influenced by his experience on the prairies as well as his interest in science. Images incorporate geometric shapes, architectural forms, and prairie icons like grain elevators with themes of history and change. Of Kostyniuk’s recent “Saskatchewan Road Map” series, Joan Kendrick wrote in New Currents in Teaching, “Recalling his background in biology, Kostyniuk speaks of systems and how they fluctuate in seeking equilibrium….His work is an act of preservation. In documenting this period of transition and marking the sorrow, he invites us to reflect. He is able to translate his experience of a Western subject into sculpture that allows us to share in his vision while making our own associations.” Kostyniuk has exhibited his work in Canada and internationally. His work is represented in collections including the Institute of Modern Art (Chicago), Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), Edmonton Art Gallery, Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), Alberta Art Foundation, Memorial University (St. John’s), University of Manitoba, Confederation Art Centre (Charlottetown), Dalhousie University (Halifax), City of Calgary, Sarnia Art Gallery, Ukrainian Museum of Canada (Saskatoon), Glenbow Museum (Calgary), MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), University of Saskatchewan, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art (Germany), and numerous others. In 1978, Kostyniuk participated as an External Affairs Foreign Exchange Scholar between Canada and the USSR. He has also served as visiting artist and artist-in-residence at the University of Manitoba (1979) and the Banff Centre (1984). Kostyniuk has received several commissions, including for public murals in Winnipeg and Calgary and sculptures in Canada and in Algeria. Kostyniuk has received a number of awards and honours, including grants from the Canada Council and a grant from the University of Calgary to study artists in Poland (1988). In 1975, he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. In 2011, a retrospective exhibition of Kostyniuk’s work from the 1960s to the present was held at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago.