Lest We Repent…
William Kurelek occupies an isolated position in Canadian art. His work cannot be situated within any movement, group or school, having more in common with the work of Peter Breughel and Hieronymus Bosch, than with any of his Canadian contemporaries. Kurelek was born on a farm near Whitford, Alberta, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. His childhood and early adulthood were unhappy. It was only upon conversion to Catholicism, in 1957, that Kurelek found meaning in his life and his work must be read within the context of his faith. He believed that his role as an artist was to be a vessel for the word of God, exposing sin and corruption and leading people to salvation. His work is moralizing in tone. Lest We Repent..., for example, admonishes a grieving mother for not embracing a life with God. Kurelek studied briefly at the Ontario College of Art, but taught himself largely through art books.