Behind the Gold Veil
From his extravagantly decorated masks to his exquisitely carved cedar panels, Rande has established himself as an inimitable figure in contemporary Northwest Coast art. His bold experiments with new media reflect the continuing evolution and growth in First Nations art, while his interest in representations of less common narratives speaks to his desire to develop a richer, more nuanced appreciation of traditional culture and art forms.
A pair of etched glass panels refers to the ‘Namgis story of Madam, a young boy who overcomes unimaginable hardship to become a powerful, supernatural being. Formline butterfly designs adorn glass semi-circles, which in turn frame the small, intimately sized figure of Madam painted in gold and adorned with feathers. Rande’s exhibition at the Campbell River Art Gallery saw the panels arranged in an east-west orientation, representing the sunrise and sunset respectively.
Rande’s delicately crafted Hawklet Frontlet Mask, covered with fine layer of gold leaf and inlaid with abalone shell, stands as a symbol of power and wealth. The extravagance of its materiality and the solemnity of the Frontlet’s expression communicate its status as a supernatural, spiritually significant figure.
The elegant marriage of cedar and gold in Rande’s striking panels reveal both the artist’s mastery of carving as well as his ability to transcend the rules of traditional design. Gold’s luminosity complements the natural grain and warmth of the wood, and the abstract formline designs move fluidly over the surface to create a vibrant, living image.
by Dr. Andrea Walsh (University of Victoria, BC)
Please read the essay here.