Hugh LeRoy, a prominent Canadian sculptor and educator, passed away on Jan 5. He taught at the University from 1974 to 2011.
LeRoy was a cherished professor emeritus at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) and senior scholar at the Graduate Program in Art History & Visual Culture where he nurtured and inspired generations of Canada’s cultural leaders.
Prof. LeRoy was born in Montreal on Oct. 9 in 1939. He studied with artist and educator Alfred Pinsky at the art school of Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University). He went on to further his studies with painter and member of the Group of Seven Arthur Lismer and with poet Louis Dudek at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Art and Design, where he eventually taught and was later named dean in 1966. In 1969, he became Chair of the Sculpture Department at the Ontario College of Art and Design before joining York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts in 1974 as an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts. LeRoy served as both Chair of the department and director of the Master of Fine Arts program. He taught at the University from 1974 to 2011.
Prof. LeRoy exhibited his works professionally for more than 50 years. His modernist sculptures were displayed in numerous locations across Canada. Among his major commissions were public sculptures for the Justice Building in Ottawa, Banff Centre and Nathan Phillips Square. His work Four Elements Column currently resides in Lachine, Que., and LeRoy’s 1972 Rainbow Piece, installed on campus grounds outside Scott Library, is part of the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of York University.
“As a teacher, LeRoy was unparalleled in his dedication to York’s students, cultivating and encouraging generations of artists who would create their own distinguished careers. This dedication to arts education has shaped the Canadian cultural landscape well beyond York University. Many of his former students went on to lead institutions and schools nationally,” says AMPD Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng.
In 1967, he received first prize in sculpture at the Perspectives 67 competition in Toronto. Prof. LeRoy also participated in the 1976 exhibition Trois générations d’art québécois 1940-1950-1960 at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal with Red Piece, an abstract, linear sculpture of painted aluminum. In 1987, LeRoy installed The Arc & The Chord, a carved wooden sculpture that responded to the natural elements, at the Toronto Sculpture Garden. Prof. LeRoy also had a series of annual solo shows at Toronto’s Olga Korper Gallery.
“On behalf of everyone in the Department of Visual Art and Art History, the School of AMPD and York University, we send our deepest condolences to Hugh’s family, including his wife Cynthia LeRoy and their daughters Jenny and Anna,” says Bay-Cheng.