Category Archives: Printing

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.

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All Canadienne Art…..Lisa Tognon

Several years ago, Martha Street Studio/Manitoba Printmakers Association showed the work of Quebec printmaker/artist Lisa Tognon.  The prints were beautiful: strong, confident lines, lots of textured space and subtle, nuanced marks.  I found the work intelligent, interesting, and technically complex.  As an artist/printmaker, it was very inspiring, and has stayed with me since then.

Bleu is a short video that shows the detailed textures of the work.  Oeuvres de Lisa Tognon (another short video) highlights her work from 2013-2014.  Not surprisingly, her work is available in many galleries, in Canada and Europe.

Bonne fete du Canada!

In Memoriam Ted Harrison 1926-2015

Ted Harrison was one of Canada’s best known artists.  Just like Kenoujouak Ashevak, though, his images are probably better known than his name.

Along with printmaker Michael De Courcy, he created over 80 limited edition serigraphs (silkscreen prints) that depicted northern and western Canada.


He is probably best known for his children’s books.  In his tribute to Ted Harrison, Robert Amos quotes Ted’s business manager, “Ted doesn’t need any promotion.  Every school child in this country knows him.”

His artworks worked well as illustrations for children’s books.  His stylized landscapes suited the storybook genre.  As well as books of his own, he colourfully illustrated the two Robert Service poems, The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee, which was named a Best Book by the New York Times.

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Winchester Galleries has a magnificent Harrison painting, Realms of Gold, currently on display…..and for sale.  (It was still available the last time I checked!)

Realms of Gold by Ted Harrison

In 2009 at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, B.C. Ted Harrison said, “So my artistic life is just painting what the devil I like, and I usually start by drawing the lines–and they’re usually curved, which I got, I think, from the Maori.  All their designs are curved lines.  So I drew curvilinear lines and put colour in them.
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So you could say my artistic life is just a waffle and a wiggle, but it’s all imaginary.”

…and speaking of Kenojuak Ashevak…..

….most Canadians wouldn’t recognize her name, but many would be familiar with some of her artworks, especially the iconic The Enchanted Owl,  which was featured on a Canada Post stamp.

Kenojuak Ashevak was the first Inuit woman to make art at the Cape Dorset Print Shop.  She began to sell her prints at the annual Cape Dorset print release in 1959.

John Feeney produced a National Film Board of Canada film about her in 1963. It’s a lovely film, with glimpses into her life, and the process of printing from stone cuts. (It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964.)

She received international recognition when she participated in the World’s Fair in Osada in 1970. She was prolific, and eventually worked in various forms of printmaking, as well as drawing and sculpture.

Kenojuak Ashevak  became a role model for other indigenous artists.  She received numerous awards in her lifetime, including the Order of Canada, and the Governor General’s Award for Visual Art.

She was born in an igloo on Baffin Island in 1927, and died on January 7, 2013 in Cape Dorset.  She left an amazing legacy.

 

Speaking of Winnipeg……

……the Nunavut Gallery is not to be missed.  It’s in an unassuming building which is, I suspect, too often overlooked.  (I confess I only visited  recently.)

Richard Kroeker and the Nunavut Gallery

This gallery is like a kiwi fruit.  It’s dull on the outside, and bursting with visual delights on the inside.  Richard Kroeker has collected a treasure trove of Inuit art.  The space is bursting with sculpture (polar bear sculpture, anyone?), prints, drawings and wall hangings.

There is so much good work in this gallery that I’ll warn you now–don’t go unless you’re prepared to be awed and amazed…..and have plenty of time.  The collection of work is extensive (I barely scratched the surface of the prints) and Richard has a wealth of information he is more than willing to share.

All the ‘stars’ of Inuit print art are represented here: Jessie Oonark, Pudlo Pudlat, Simon Tookoome, Luke Anguhadluq and, joy of joys! the grande dame, Kenojuak Ashevak.

Kenojuak Ashevak

A final warning:  The quality of the artwork, and the ridiculously low prices may cause you to buy an artwork…..or three.