Monthly Archives: July 2015

All Canadian art…..Aganetha Dyck

There has been a long tradition of artists employing assistants.  Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, was blind (macular degeneration) at the end of her life.  Her assistant helped prepare and paint the canvasses according to her direction.  El Anatsui, (see the post from March 27), employs large teams of people to fabricate his hangings.  It is a common practise in the art world.

Aganetha Dyck also has a large swarm of assistants.  She uses bees to help her create her art.

Click here for a brief, informative video about the genesis of her idea to work with bees, and images from an installation of a show in the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Here is an interview with Ms Dyck, and the link provides more very good images of her work.

Installation at Confederation Centre of the Arts, 2011

Installation at Confederation Centre of the Arts, 2011

I love that Ms Dyck commissioned Di Brandt to write a poem for her installation Working in the Dark, at the DeLeon White Gallery in Toronto in 1999.  Art and poetry: a perfect match.  The poem was translated into braille, and the sheets of paper were introduced into bee hives.  Most of the bees’ work was done in the dark, and the work was checked only shortly before the show.  Juan Antonio Ramirez wrote  Aganetha Dyck: Nature as Language in which he discusses her work, and its meanings.

While I was working at Martha Street Studio, an edition of intaglio prints was produced, which were then ‘finished’ by the bees.  Each print of the edition was unique, and all of them are beautiful.

After Dr. Edmund Assumus 1865 by Aganetha Dyck

After Dr. Edmund Asmus 1865 by Aganetha Dyck

Aganetha Dyck received the Governor General’s Medal for Visual and Media Arts in 2007. She and Daphne are in good company.

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All Canadian Art…..Daphne Odjig

The Art Caravan first saw Daphne Odjig‘s work hanging in the hallway of an elementary school in the north end of Winnipeg.  Was it an original print?  Was it a poster?  I don’t know, and all that matters is that it was my introduction to this great artist.

Classmates by Daphne Odjig

Classmates by Daphne Odjig

Was it the Cubist inflections in her work that caught my eye?  I know that her subject matter–the celebration of life around us–has kept me interested in her art.

In 1973 Ms Odjig helped create the Professional Native Indian Artists Association.  She is a member of the informal Aboriginal Group of Seven along with Jackson Beardy, Eddie Cobiness, Alex Janvier, Norval Morriseau, Carl Ray and Joseph Sanchez.

Ms Odjig is 95 years old.  She talks frankly about her age, and her art, in this interview from the National Gallery of Canada.

Her work has been featured on Canadian postage stamps, and used as inspiration for clothing.  She has received several honorary degrees, and has been awarded the Order of Canada. In 2007, she was awarded a Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual and Media Arts.