This exhibition brings together works by Nadia Myre, Allan Packer, Tania Willard and Suvinai Ashoona which look at the intersections between landscape, memory, and the built environment. In Suvinai Ashoona’s intricate drawings, the Arctic landscape is rendered fictive. At a stasis between construction and deconstruction, Allan Packer’s sculpture consists of nearly life size partially constructed igloo cast from clear plastic. A further mediation on history and temporality, in an animation by Nadia Myre a line drawing of a single canoe is continually erased and redrawn. Akin to Robert Raushenberg’s 1953 Erased De Kooning Drawing, Myre’s gesture, rather than an attempt to eradicate the past, re-imagines it. Willard’s series of silkscreen prints appropriate mappings of North America from the 1500s, a time when much of the land was unknown to non-Native explorers. In Willard’s work this “terra incognita” is rendered increasingly abstract, mimicking the hypothetical nature of the maps themselves.
Curated by Candice Hopkins.
Suvinai was born in Cape Dorset in August, 1961. Suvinai began drawing in 1995. She works with pen and ink, coloured pencils and markers and her sensibility for the landscape around the community of Cape Dorset is particularly impressive. Her work is often meticulously detailed. Suvinai’s work was first included in the Cape Dorset annual print collection in 1997, with two small dry-point etchings entitled Interior (1997-33) and Settlement (1997-34). Suvinai’s work has attracted the attention of several notable private galleries, as well as public institutions. She was featured along with her aunt, Napachie Pootoogook, and her grandmother, the late Pitseolak Ashoona, in the McMichael Canadian Collection’s 1999 exhibition entitled Three Women, Three Generations and in the 2007 exhibition _Shapeshifters, Time Travellers and Storytellers at the Royal Ontario Museum. She works daily in the Kinngait Studios.
Nadia Myre is a multi-disciplinary installation artist of Anishnabe heritage (Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi reserve). She holds two Associate degrees in Fine Arts from Camosun College and the Emily Carr Institute as well as an MFA from Concordia University. Over the past decade, Nadia has exhibited widely across Canada and internationally. She has served on panels and art juries and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Her work is represented by Gallery Art Mûr and can be found in private and public collections across the country. Currently, Nadia is a member of the board of directors at RAAV (Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec).
In 1980, Allan Packer, a 22-year old bohemian artist painting in Toronto, journeyed north to the high arctic community of Cape Dorset with Terry Ryan to develop an operational print etching shop for the vibrant and internationally recognized Dorset Fine Arts. There he met Inuit artists Kananginak, Pitseolak and Pudlo Pudlat. He would not fully realize the impact of these relationships until years later during his residency at The Banff Centre in Canada where he addressed the political and cultural impact of this community of Inuit artists in a sculpture entitled Corvus Corax, 2005 (The Banff Centre Canada). After his voyage to the Arctic, Packer traveled to Paris to study with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17. Hayter, a scientist and artist, incited Packer’s experimentation with mathematics – an influence that is reflected in Packer’s earlier drawings and most recently in his dodecahedron sculpture Time Machine, 2006 (Kohler Factories, Wisconsin). After 14 years in New York, Packer now lives in Seattle. His work has been recognized with Canada Council grants, Artist Trust Fellowship and GAP grants, and Washington State Arts Commission Grant.
Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation, has been working with Aboriginal youth, community, story and the arts for over 10 years. An honours graduate from the University of Victoria, her groundbreaking work with Redwire Magazine, a national Aboriginal youth magazine, led the organization to be one of the first independent Aboriginal youth run arts and media organizations. Willard has since transfered her skills and passion to her work as an artist and graphic designer, again the focus of her work in this field is the Aboriginal community, the arts, health and social justice. Tania has worked as an artist in residence with gallery gachet in Vancouver’s Down Town East Side, a writer in residence with Native Women in the Arts and the Banff Centre fiction residency. Tania has worked with grunt gallery to coordinate their community arts conference and publication, Live in Public: The Art of Engagement and recent online gallery projects including Dana Claxton’s retrospective and the First Visions site.