Joe David – featuring a private collection which has been built over 20 years, as a part of a larger collection of Northwest Coast and contemporary British Columbia Art. Given his long career as an artist - and his stature in the group that emerged as the major proponents of the modern generation of the art of the Northwest Coast - there are a number of collections internationally that include significant numbers of his work, due to their diverse range of imagery and powerful presence in the home.
Joe David was born in Opisaht village on the western shore of Vancouver Island in 1946. The isolation of the village encouraged the continuation of traditional ceremonies which Joe vividly recalls watching as a child. He became an early student of traditional Nuu-chah-nulth design and carving and later developed a mastery of the styles of all Northwest Coast nations. He became deeply interested in the shamanic practices of the Northwest Coast and other world cultures and this has been a constant influence on his work as an artist. His nomadic lifestyle has taken him around the world to see and experience other First-Nation cultures, including frequent stops in Arizona to participate in the annual Lakota Sun Dance, and New Zealand to visit and work with a number of prominent Maori artists. He is a devout environmentalist and has often produced pieces and supported causes related to environmental protection. In 1984 he produced HAA-HOO-ILTH-QUIN (Cedar man) carved during the protest to protect Meares Island from logging, which was erected in front of the Provincial Legislative Building in Victoria, and is now in the collection of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology. Other significant public collections include the Vancouver International Airport, the Tin Wis Lodge in Tofino, and Teleglobe Canada. His pieces are included in most of the publications and exhibitions documenting the contemporary art form. He has also embraced changes in the art such as the introduction of bronze and glass. He received the first invitation to be the First Nation Artist in Residence in 2000 at the prestigious Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington and has often collaborated with Preston Singletary on glass pieces. This collection includes many examples of his masks in his definitive Nuu-chah-nulth style - as well as pieces in bronze and glass and contemporary explorations, including several drawings and paintings. Currently Joe has semi-retired to Vancouver Island and makes a few select pieces each year.
September 9 - September 30, 2017
The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is honoured to be hosting the long-awaited second collaborative exhibition, Pacific Currents - New Collaborations in Glass and Jade, by Seattle-based Tlingit glass artist, Preston Singletary, and leading Māori pounamu jade artist, Lewis Gardiner, from Aotearoa (New Zealand).
In 2007, their first exhibition, Fire & Water - Pacific Visions in Glass & Jade, captured the attention of our audience with its ground-breaking collection of innovative artworks that merged new materials together in shapes, designs and stories found in both cultural art-forms. The originality of these artworks proved that creativity could overcome cultural differences and distances between the artists working on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. The success of their first collaboration beckoned for an encore.
The creative beginnings of this second exhibition began many years ago but the artists' busy schedules of other exhibitions, teaching, commissions, cultural and family commitments, delayed its completion.
Over the years despite the challenge of being artists at a distance, their mutual artistic respect and friendship had kept the communication alive. Both artists were still intrigued to pursue this second exhibition and have the opportunity to further explore similar stories that existed between the Northwest Coast and Māori cultures. It is now a decade later and we finally have the much anticipated collection of 20 exciting new artworks.
Preston Singletary has been an ambassador for the glass medium to First Nation cultures internationally, including several trips to New Zealand to introduce glass to Māori artists. Glass is seen as a chameleon material that can imitate other materials including many that are seen as rare and endangered to the world and to the very future of certain artistic traditions. For the last 20 years, Lewis Gardiner has been a leading pounamu jade artist in New Zealand. He has accepted invitations to exhibit his creations in China, as well as in New Zealand and Canada, and still continues to explore monumental jade (pounamu) at a time of scarcity that limits access to a material considered a cultural taonga (treasure). Glass and jade are such compatible mediums as they are both translucent and activated by light.
We believe the ten year wait has been worthwhile as we reveal this inspired second collection, Pacific Currents, that continues to explore and develop on new ideas and forms found in their traditional cultural stories. Both artists have been inspired by the flora and fauna of their natural environment, as well as by the ceremonial objects that are both worn and presented in sacred ceremonial settings. The design forms cleverly blend Māori and Northwest flat design onto traditional sculpted forms.
We invite you to see the exhibition in person and to meet these two important artists who created this amazing collection.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
101-1669 West 3rd Ave.
Canada V6J 1K1
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one block West of the Granville Island gates
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