Tuesday, May 5, 2015

3 years, an Epistemological Conundrum and much more

It took me over a year to complete but I finally finished Epistemological Conundrum.

"The studio audience cheers".

If you recall I needed a summer internship as an aspect of my Masters of Applied Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. I decided to teach a seven week directed studies class where I would teach 3 students some basic carving skills and we would do some work on a house post for the Aboriginal Gathering Place at ECUAD.

After the seven week course was done and we said our goodbyes, I did not work on it for over a year.

When the final day of carving came, it was anticlimactic to say the least.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, I had carved in the last detail and I was like, "Huh, I think I'm done". I literally said that out-loud to myself as I was the only one in the room.

The real rub was that it took 2 years to erect the totem pole and if finishing the project was anti-climactic, the unveiling was even more so.

Still some stories are about the journey and not the destination. I got to work with some amazing people; Agnes Wisden, Raven LeBlanc, Sarah Henekins, James Harry, Marc Anthony, William Calligan and Brenda Crabtree. I thank them all for their assistance.

In the time between finishing the totem pole and the public presentation of said totem pole I kept quite busy with private commissions, donated artworks for fundraisers and a few of my own projects, a few of which I've already blogged about.

Here are a few sketches from some private commissions I completed recently, I won't get into it because these art works no longer belong to me and they are not public art.

In 2014 I went to the Banff centre for an amazing artists residency and late in the year I had a couple of artworks collected by the National Gallery of Canada, but that is another blog for another time.

p.s. I did receive my Master of Applied Arts Degree in May of 2012. Tho while I do have a Masters degree I am still not a master carver (someday).

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

State of Grace, part 3

Punishment of the Grave

"In this great and vast universe there is a balance, spirits travel between worlds never filling one world with so many spirits that it becomes unlivable or taking away so many that it becomes lonely. When a spirit leaves one world it is expected in the next and when those spirits start to disappear it creates an imbalance.

Charged to find the imbalance in the universe is the transforming man. He searches for years, guilt ridden because of what happened to the twins he has not lived as a man since."


Fall of Man detail

Bi-symmetry is a concept I explored in order to understand my research. I looked at the contemporary history of NWC Aboriginal art with the purpose of understanding where I stood in the continuum of NWC art. I discovered the influence that formalism had on my practice, as uncomfortable as that made me feel.

Bi-symmetry in the beginning was a term invented to explain a dual practice of creating for "traditional" use and concurrently creating for a non-Aboriginal or commercial audience

State of Grace utilizes recognizable NWC iconography, such as the Raven, transforming characters and a mortuary box. Yet it is a constructed myth that contains references to non-Aboriginal religious concepts and popular culture. The story was molded by the triptych of the same name but the triptych was changed by the direction of the story.


Punishment of the Grave maquette


"On a small island forgotten by the world there is a tree, and in that tree is a box. That box is the final resting place of the transforming man, but no longer transforming he is just a man, condemned to eternity in a state of neither life nor death. But he is not alone; on either side of the box are two spirits, one male and one female. They have made a vow to never leave their Saviour.

The Raven saddened by the events of this story transformed himself and spent a hundred years traveling as a leaf on the north wind."

State of Grace is a bi-symmetrical exploration of narrative. It is built on the contemporary NWC art history I explored and my attempt to capture the experience I had when I first encountered a Northwest coast mask on my parent’s wall.