Kenojuak Ashevak: Current Vision - Drawings
February can be a difficult month for Canadians. For most of us winter still has us firmly in its grip. It is therefore a great privilege for the Inuit Gallery to present a colourful exhibition by the indomitable Kenojuak Ashevak. Her body of work is characterized by colour, to brighten a winter day, or any other day for that matter.
Now in her 83rd year, Kenojuak continues to create images of alluring beauty and in an ever wider range of mediums. She has been seen recently at the Kinngait studio in Cape Dorset and although she is pacing herself, we expect to see several of her new images in the 2011 Cape Dorset print collection this October. Her eye sight continues to be problematic, making one pause and reflect on the duality of the meaning of the word vision. On the one hand the physical ability to see and the more metaphorical sense where Kenojuak shows no sign of diminution.
This exhibition consists primarily of recent drawings dating from 2008 to 2010. Most of these are renderings of her favourite subject - birds, and give evidence to her stature as one of the most commanding figures of the Inuit art world, or for that matter, the art world in general. Perhaps as a result of the natural limitations her years have placed on her, or perhaps more deliberately, some of these new drawings have a marvelous softness not typical of her earlier works. The sharp outlines of those characteristic creations are no longer so prevalent, replaced by muted blending of colour laid upon colour.
Since the success of the stained glass window commission which she completed for Appleby College in Oakville Ontario in 2004 she has gone on to collaborate on a series of handblown glass panels of which OWL AND TWO RAVENS is the most recent. This dramatic work in red and black which we are also featuring in this exhibition, is based upon one of her classic drawings.
The Inuit Gallery is also pleased to include two examples of Kenojuak’s collaborative efforts in the form of hand knotted carpets / tapestries. The two we’ve chosen to exhibit demonstrate her broad range of expression from her early subtle line to her later, familiar vibrancy. One carpet is based on a drawing from the early 1960’s and is called REVELATION OF THE SUN, the other is from the mid 1970’s and is called THE SHAMAN’S MASK. Other designs and colour palates are available and the gallery will be pleased to work with collectors to find the perfect one for them.
Also of note is the appearance in the last several years of collaborative prints done in the quixotic medium of sugar lift. Kenojuak’s efforts in this medium have provided some of the most commanding images in the 2009 and 2010 print collections and we draw your attention to those that are still available.
In these most recent years, we have seen the pleasure Kenojuak takes in sharing her artwork. She has demonstrated a remarkable flexibility in working in collaboration with other artists and in new media that have never before been available to Inuit artists. We applaud and honour her unshakable current vision.
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