Gerald Ferguson (1937–2009) was a conceptual artist and academic who born in Cincinnati and lived in Halifax. Over the course of his artistic career, he has made significant contributions to minimal, process, and conceptual art through his "task-oriented" large-scale paintings, and his use of quotidian materials that speak to the poetics of everyday life.
Ferguson received his MFA at Ohio University in 1966. He taught at Wilmington College in Ohio and the Kansas City Art Institute before moving to Canada to take up post as a faculty member at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) at the invitation of Garry Neill Kennedy in 1968. Together they transformed the school into an internationally recognized institution that focuses on conceptual art activities. Ferguson taught painting at NSCAD until his retirement in 2006.
During his tenure, Ferguson developed his practice of deconstructing art to examine the conventions of the field. He was influenced by Marcel Duchamp and the notion of readymade art. Many of his works represent attempts to strip away those conventions and paint using the most minimal means possible. The titles of his artworks describe what the artist used to make them. Notable work includes “1,000,000 Grapes,” which is a multi-panel painting comprised of ten canvases, each marked with 1,000,000 grape stencils.
Ferguson was included in the defining show of conceptual art at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970 titled Information. He was also featured in numerous institutions nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.
His works were collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum Sztuki, in Łódź, Poland.