Back to Artists



The work of Colin Muir Dorward originates from a renegotiation of the well rehearsed “paint from life” methodology. His immediate visible surroundings provide the colors and forms that make up his paintings, but not necessarily in the most predictable ways. Radical perceptions of his surroundings allow the artist to depict a lived reality that exists beyond ocular experience. He makes the invisible visible by looking at the here and now.

Dorward’s paintings are suffused with the people, spaces, and things that surround him and are marked by the flow of his life. Quotidian joys and pains, private meditations, and political agendas all find their way into the artist’s work.

In the wake of post-modernist critique, this premise might seem a dangerous attempt to re-establish a “cult of the author,” or a misguided effort to establish power as a bearer of unique vision. On the contrary, Dorward works from the destabilized position of the artist offered by late century critical judgment. He is invested in vision as a productive assimilation of multiple perspectives, as a theory laden cultural product, and as a fallible connection to the world at large.

In Frank Herbert's fantasy world Dune, a technologically advanced society engineers a functional model of Vincent Van Gogh through careful analysis of his brush strokes, revealing to them his complex inner workings. Herbert understood the “transparency” of paint: its potential to make revelations about the artist. For Dorward, experience has confirmed this (so called) problematic cliché, and led him to employ it as a means of generating content. He validates this “egocentric” position by way of two assumptions. First, that paintings are no longer burdened by an obligation to assume or embody supposed heroism. Second, that intimate details of an artist’s life are as pertinent to their practice as the corresponding details of a viewer’s life are to their practice of reading the artist’s work. On this level playing field, the artist’s self inspection, in this case his own, functions as a relational ice breaker, allowing viewers to navigate the work in terms of their own experiences.

Dorward received an MFA in 2013 from the University of Ottawa, and a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver in 2007. He received an Honourable Mention in the 2013 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, and was also a Finalist in the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. His work has been exhibited across Canada and is held in numerous private and public art collections, including the RBC corporate art collection and the City of Ottawa art collection.


2013 Masters of Fine Arts, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
2007 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Arts. Major in Painting and Drawing Minor in Printmaking, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada

2013 Some Paintings Enjoying Fresh Air, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
2013 New Ottawa Artist Spotlight, SAW Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
2010 Colin Muir Dorward, Gallery Rye, Montréal, Canada

2014 Primer: Colin Muir Dorward, Natasha Mazurka, Amy Schissel, & Andrew Smith, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
2013 RBC Canadian Painting Competition 2013, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
2013 Colin Muir Dorward & Scott Everingham: Selected Paintings, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition 2012, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada
2011 Works on Paper, Redbird Gallery, Montréal, Canada
2011 Hang One!, District 101, Montréal, Canada
2011 L’art chaud: explorations dans l’érotique, Espace les Neuf Soeurs, Montréal, Canada
2009 Collaborative Exhibition with Megan Hepburn, Parc-ex Apartment, Montréal, Canada
2008 MFA Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
2007 The Old School House Arts Centre, Qualicum Beach, Canada
2006 Strangers in a Stranger Land, Little Mountain Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2005 And There They Hang, Concourse Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2004 Painting, Butchershop Floor, Vancouver, Canada

2013 Finalist: 15th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition
2012 Finalist: 14th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition
2010 Full admission scholarship, University of Ottawa
2003 Christopher Investments Scholarship

City of Ottawa
RBC Corporate Art Collection
Private Collections

2013 Bustos, Alejandro. "Saw Gallery: Exploring the Boundaries of Imageland with Colin Muir Dorward." Apartment 613. N.p., 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 11 March, 2013.
2013 Simpson, Peter. "Time, Space and Art." Ottawa Citizen, 16 February, 2013, Arts sec.: 1-2. Print.
2013 Simpson, Peter. "Ottawa Artist a Finalist for $25,000 RBC Painting Award." Ottawa Citizen. N.p., 27 June 2012. Web. 5 March, 2013.
2013 Van Dyk, Spencer. "A Degree Painted by Hand … or Not." Ed. Adam Feibel. The Fulcrum. 28 February, 2013. Arts sec.: 10. Print.
2013 Ruby TFO. "Colin Muir Dorward." 20 February, 2013. Web.
2012 Runciman, Jessa, and Colin M. Dorward. "Colin Muir Dorward The RBC Canadian Painting Competition Interview Series." Editorial. The Walrus, 12 November, 2012. Web.
2012 RBC Canadian painting Competition, Exhibition Catalogue, Fall 2012, pp. 22-23.

2012-2013 Teacher’s Assistant, painting, art history/theory, University of Ottawa
2012 Research and Writing Internship, National Gallery of Canada
2009-2012 Painting instructor, Creative Boosat Arts and Language School, Montreal

© Copyright 2014 PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The contents of this Website may not be used or duplicated without the authorization of PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY and/or its represented artists.