Dam, 2011, mixed media, 122 x 114 cm

installation view of Dam, 2011, mixed media, 244 x 292 x 112 cm

Maquette, 2011, paperboard,
43 x 68.5 x 35.5 cm

White Pine, 2008,
watercolour on paper, 122 x 114 cm

Butternut, 2008, 6 units, watercolour on paper, dimensions variable

Sugar Maple, 2005, 4 units, watercolour on paper, 91.5 x 218.5 cm each

White Pine, 2003,
watercolour on paper, 259 x 114 cm

Stick, 2003, 4 units,
watercolour on paper, 16 x 72 inches each

Sugar Maple, 2001-02, wood, 67 x 81 x 210.5 cm

Desert, Jet, 1994,
wood, oil, enamel, canvas, lights, photograph,
235 x 340 x 450 cm

Robert Wiens

Wiens’s large-scale watercolours take the trees of old growth forests as subject matter, documenting the various species – white pine, red pine, sugar maple – on a 1:1 scale. These detailed works appear near-photographic from a distance, giving way to an abstract slur of painted strokes upon closer examination.

I try for a one-to-one relationship between the tree and the painting. It’s my attempt to make something that’s real, though I also know it falls short. … When I first began to paint the way I do, it interested me to think about what a painting would be like if there were no vista in it. This is more like the way you’d see a tree when you’re on the trail.

— Robert Wiens

Born in Leamington, Ontario
New School of Art, Toronto

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
about the exhibition

Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
   about the exhibition
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Verdure, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina;
   Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery,
   Owen Sound
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Desert, Jet, Agnes Etherington Art Centre,
Bump, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
White Pine, Paul Petro Contemporary Art,
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Robert Wiens: Recent Sculpture,
   Oakville Galleries, Oakville;
   Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke;
   Le Musée d’art de Joliette, Joliette;
   Musée régionale de Rimouski, Rimouski;
   Université de Moncton, Moncton;
   Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax
Giving Voice, Art Gallery of Windsor,
Cut Line, Carmen Lamanna Gallery,
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay
The Rip and the Little Boy, Or Gallery,
All the Work that’s to be done, Artcite,
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge
Sculpture, Glendon Gallery, York University,
The Tables, YYZ, Toronto
Passage Zone, Eye Level Gallery, Halifax
Site Construction, Mercer Union, Toronto

Selected Group Exhibitions

Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish
   Thought, Contemporary Jewish Museum,
   San Francisco
New Canadiana, Agnes Etherington
   Art Centre, Kingston
Speak for the Trees, Friesen Gallery,
Speak for the Trees, Friesen Gallery,
   Sun Valley, Idaho
Projections, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina
Projections, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton
Momentum, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Projections, Hart House, University of
   Toronto, Toronto
Micro/Macro, Gallery Stratford, Stratford;
   Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of
   Toronto, Scarborough
Regarding Landscape, Art Gallery of
   York University, Toronto
Paul Morris Gallery, New York
Great Lakes, York Quay Gallery, Toronto
Sensing the Forest, Wave Hill Glyndor
   Gallery, Bronx
The Hand, The Power Plant, Toronto
Sustentation, Plein Sud, Longueuil, Québec
Survey Results Show…, Oakville Galleries,
   Oakville; Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary;
   Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg
Art Gallery of North York, North York
Anni Novanta, Galleria d’Art Moderne,
   Bologna, Italy
Place/Practice, Agnes Etherington Art Centre,
Memory Works: Postmodern Impulses in
   Canadian Art, London Regional Art Gallery,
   London; Mississauga Civic Centre,
   Mississauga; Glenbow Museum, Calgary
Toronto: A Play of History (Jeu d’histoire),
   The Power Plant, Toronto
Paradise Then and Now, Toronto Sculpture
   Garden, Toronto
Songs of Experience, National Gallery of
   Canada, Ottawa
Subjects and Objects, MacDonald Stewart
   Art Centre, Guelph
Perspective 85, Art Gallery of Ontario,
Anxiety, Alienation, Aphasia, University
   of Lethbridge, Lethbridge
On Earth and in Heaven, Walter
   Phillips Gallery, Banff
80/1/2/3/4/Toronto: Content/Context,
   Mercer Union, Toronto; Open Space
   Gallery, Victoria; Contemporary
   Art Gallery, Vancouver
The New City of Sculpture, Gallery 76,
   Grunwald Gallery, Mercer Union,
   and YYZ, Toronto
Amsterdam—Toronto, Fodor Museum,
   Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Vestiges of Empire, Camden
   Arts Centre, London, England
Chromaliving, The Colonnade, Toronto
Directions: Four Artists, SL Simpson Gallery,
Monumenta, Joint exhibition at A Space,
   ChromaZone, Gallery 76, and YYZ,
Books in Manuscript Form, Mercer Union,
Toronto—L.A. Exchange, Los Angeles
   Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

FrameWork 3/14

by Ella Dawn McGeough (essay)

Susan Hobbs Gallery, March 2014

read (pdf)

Do Not Destroy:
Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought

by Dara Solomon (exhibition catalogue)

San Francisco: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 2012

New Canadiana

by Jan Allen (exhibition catalogue)

Kingston, Ontario: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2010

The Donovan Collection

by Daniel Donovan (book)

Toronto: University of St. Michael’s College, 2010

Speak for the Trees

by Andrea Friesen (book)

Seattle: Marquand Books, 2009

Trees to See

by Leah Sandals (review)

National Post, 5 April 2008

Robert Wiens: Susan Hobbs Gallery

by Peter Blendell (review)

Canadian Art, Fall 2006

Exhibit A: Awesome Arboreal

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

The Globe and Mail, 12 May 2006

Robert Wiens

by Peter Blendell (review)

Wildflower, Autumn 2002

Art grows in a forest

by Sarah Milroy (review)

The Globe and Mail, 6 September 2002

Reassembling nature’s building blocks

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

The Globe and Mail, 6 April 2002

A Walk in the Woods

by Daniel Rothbart (review)

NY Arts Magazine, September 2001

Sensing the Forest

by Jennifer McGregor (exhibition catalogue)

Bronx: Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery, 2001

White Pine Red Pine

by Richard Rhodes (article)

Canadian Art, Fall 2000

Robert Wiens at Susan Hobbs Gallery

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

The Globe and Mail, 22 January 2000

Eclectic, electric and eccentric

by Blake Gopnik (review)

The Globe and Mail, 24 July 1999


by Brenda Wallace (exhibition catalogue)

Longueuil, Quebec: Plein Sud, 1999

Robert Wiens at Susan Hobbs Gallery

by John Armstrong (review)

C Magazine, September-November 1998

Carving new meanings from an old standby

by Betty Ann Jordan (article)

The Globe and Mail, 15 August 1998

Robert Wiens at Susan Hobbs

by Gillian MacKay (review)

The Globe and Mail, 28 February 1998

Robert Wiens: Desert, Jet

by Jan Allen (exhibition brochure)

Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1996

Art that will make you think

by Lee Parpart (review)

The Kingston Whig-Standard, 24 February 1996

Robert Wiens: Recent Sculpture

by Carolyn Bell Farrell and Barbara Fischer
(exhibition catalogue)

Oakville: Oakville Galleries, 1993

Postmodernism in Recent Canadian Art: Ironies of Memory

by Mark Cheetham (book)

Double Talking; Toronto: ECW Press, 1992

Robert Wiens: Giving Voice

by Matthew Teitelbaum (exhibition catalogue)

Windsor: Art Gallery of Windsor, 1992

Anni Novanta: The Nineties

by Renato Barilli (exhibition catalogue)

Bologna, Italy: Galeria d’Arte Moderna, 1991

Remembering Postmodernism: Trends in Recent Canadian Art

by Mark Cheetham and Linda Hutcheon (book)

Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1991

Toronto: A Play of History/Jeu d’Histoire

by Louise Dompierre (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: The Power Plant, 1987

Robert Wiens, Carmen Lamanna Gallery

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

Canadian Art, Spring 1987

Toronto, Robert Wiens

by Richard Rhodes (review)

Artforum, March 1987

Continuum: Robert Wiens

by Lorne Falk (exhibition brochure)

Lethbridge, Alberta: Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 1986

Songs of Experience

by Jessica Bradley and Diana Nemiroff
(exhibition catalogue)

Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1986

Free at Last or Why There’s Nothing Left to Imitate: The Almost Free Spirit in Toronto Painting and Sculpture

by Donald Kuspit (article)

C Magazine, Winter 1985

Allegorical Margins

by Christopher Hume (review)

The Toronto Star, 10 May 1985

Perspective ‘85

by David Burnett (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1985

The New City of Sculpture

by Ian Carr-Harris (review)

Parachute, Winter 1984-85

A Journey around the New City of Sculpture

by Marshall Webb (review)

Canadian Art, Winter 1984

The New City of Sculpture

by Bruce Grenville (review)

C Magazine, Winter 1984

The Irony of Power

by William Wood (review)

C Magazine, Summer 1984

The flowering of a creative discontent

by John Bentley Mays (review)

The Globe and Mail, 17 March 1984

Robert Wiens, YYZ

by Jeanne Randolph (review)

Vanguard, April 1983

Robert Wiens, Mercer Union

by Martha Fleming (review)

Vanguard, October 1980