Don Proch

About the Artist

Don Proch spent his first eight years living in a log cabin on his Ukrainian grandfather’s quarter section of land near Grandview, Manitoba. They lived frugally and laboured on the farm until Proch’s father secured work in the auto industry in southern Ontario. In 1952 his father was able to use his savings to purchase the hotel in Inglis, Manitoba, and the family moved there to run the business.

At age sixteen Proch enrolled in university to study engineering, but he soon became disillusioned with that life and went home to get a job. After a short time Proch‘s father insisted he should go back to school and get an education. Proch returned to study Fine Arts at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba which was a much better choice of career for him. When he completed university, Proch painted for a year and then from 1967 to 1970 he taught art in a high school. Writer Colin MacDonald states, “During that period he pondered what direction his art would take. He became interested in the  conceptAn idea, thought, or notion conceived through mental activity. The words concept and conception are applied to mental formulations on a broad scale. (  of  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (  on three-dimensional surfaces, subjects derived from his rural experiences, his sense of history (Ukrainian and the prairie pioneers), urban pressures on rural life, the interaction between nature, man and the land.” (MacDonald, 1982)

From 1970 onward Proch’s artistic career flourished. In a 1977 interview he said, “As far as I’m concerned, my life started in 1970.” (Freedman, 1977)

Proch secured a  solo exhibitionA public showing of artwork by one artist.  at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1972 titled The Legend of Asessippi.  Proch assembled a group of artists, friends and relatives to help him complete the massive installation. They became known as the Ophthalmic (eye inflammation) Company of Inglis. Colin MacDonald explained that, “…the Ophthalmia Company seeks to inflame the eye of the viewer only to shift his mechanisms of perception, to change the way in which the viewer actually sees.” (MacDonald, 1982) The exhibit was a huge success.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning