Lyle Wilson: Quality of Line
Two beautiful formline Blue Jays soar across a field of crisp, clean incised lines in Lyle Wilson’s K°a'alaqs (Blue Jays) print. Lyle Wilson, who trained in printmaking at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, is an accomplished and renowned carver, painter, and jewelry maker. His art skillfully brings together elements of traditional Haisla art with contemporary media to create beautiful works that reference his deep understanding of and pride in First Nations cultural history.
To create the K°a'alaqs print, Lyle first sketched the image on paper, then engraved a copper plate with the image with painstaking precision. Each fine line perfectly synchronized with the next, creating an exquisitely detailed copper plate. The plate was then taken to Vancouver's New Leaf Studios where printmaker, Peter Braun hand pressed each paper onto the inked copper plate, creating the image in reverse. An intaglio print has extraordinary beauty due to the method of inscribing a copper plate with the design. Unlike other print methods where the ink adheres to the raised surface of the print plate, the lines on the intaglio plate hold the ink which allows the beauty of the artist's line work to transfer to the paper.
To Lyle, the Blue Jay brings back childhood memories of learning traditional Haisla trap and release methods, while appreciating the Blue Jay for its intelligence and striking beauty. Today at his Vancouver home, Lyle is visited by three Blue Jays that nest in the tree in his backyard and which have been an inspiration for this dynamic print.
Lyle’s graphic works have been exhibited broadly in Canada and the United States. In 1987, he collaborated with the UBC Museum of Anthropology’s graphic designer, Bill McLennan, on an image-recovery project. This led to a greater role coordinating the Native Longhouse Project when he oversaw the design and production of six long houses, representing six different tribal groups. He was also commissioned to create work for the Canadian consulate in Osaka, Japan, has had solo exhibitions at the Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario, the Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, OK, Inuit Gallery, Vancouver, BC, and in 2013, his solo exhibition, Paint, was held at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver. His work is in the permanent collection at Burnaby Art Gallery, Toronto Dominion Bank, Royal British Columbia Museum, and Canada Council Art Bank as well as other prominent public, corporate, and private collections worldwide.
The gallery currently features several art works by Lyle Wilson, three prints that illustrate Lyle's interest in experimentation with imagery and social commentary, an original drawing, an etched glass panel and a few lovely pendants in silver. Lyle's training as a printmaker translates to his jewelry, which displays the same quality of line and precision.