In Canada, if you were talented, you were threatening. People got a little nervous if you got too big for your britches. It was kind of a colonial hang-up.
Charles Pachter, once described as our visual Mordecai Richler – someone not afraid to prick balloons — is arguably one of Canada’s more successful living artists. While he has yet to crack the National Gallery, his works hang in 24 Sussex Drive, Queen’s Park, and in major private collections around the globe. At age 72 this month, he hasn’t lost any of the playful vigour that got him international press in 1973 when he put the image of the Queen on a moose. He’s had a wild ride of his own ever since, from his acclaimed collaboration with Margaret Atwood on the fine art print edition of The Journals of Susanna Moodie to making and losing a fortune, and making it back, in real estate ventures. He soldiers on: a new edition of that book is just out, and he’s got big dreams for architectural and cultural projects in his summer home of Orillia. He has a second gallery there, Moose Factory of Orillia, or MOFO, (yes, he knows what it means), and he’s scheming to turn the Huronia Regional Centre into an arts and performance destination. He lectures passionately on Canadian history and imparts didactic Canadiana in children’s books (including recipes for butter tarts). Pachter is delighted to be showing in London. Icons,a survey of his work, runs at Michael Gibson Gallery this December. He’s the kid that got D- in grade nine art over half a century ago, but as Pachter sardonically notes, when he received the Order of Canada his teacher Ms. Hudgins gave him a call to say, “You know dear, I always knew you had it in you!” Continue Reading