The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is honoured to be hosting this long-anticipated solo exhibition for Inuit silversmith and sculptor, Michael Massie.
Michael is an artist comfortable both on the land in the north and in the cities in the south. His work is a blend of many worlds, which is perhaps a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Metis, and Scottish descent. His ability to readily adapt is also apparent in his work, which investigates both traditional and modern themes while often bridging cultural boundaries and appealing to a wide audience of collectors.
Born in 1962 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador, Michael now lives in Newfoundland with his wife Jo-Ann, and children Keshia, Alexandra and Tyler. His post-secondary education began with a Certificate in Commercial Art and a Diploma in Visual Arts at the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (with a major in jewellery) from the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design. Since his first exhibition in 1991, he has participated in numerous exhibitions in North America and Europe, with his works selected for prestigious museum and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. As an instructor, he has traveled to the Arctic to oversee jewellery and stone-carving workshops. Michael has also served on a number of art committees, including a most recent position with the Visual Artists of Newfoundland Board of Directors.
Early in his college days, he began to forge his own contemporary style by exploring his Inuit heritage and combining traditional imagery with western art influences and techniques. His professional attitude towards his art encompasses a wide variety of subject matter with each piece beautifully crafted, meticulous in finish and exquisitely detailed.
This exciting exhibition features unique sculptural works in both stone and silver, often accented with a variety of exotic inlays. Michael selects all his own stone from the local quarries near his home, and while the tan-grey limestone and the blue-hued anhydrite stone are challenging to carve, they give a uniqueness to his work. This exhibition represents two years of his personal focus—and the collection illustrates personal stories and memories that provide an interesting insight into his world. The imagery is fresh and vivacious, and weaves a wonderful blend of Inuit legends of yesterday, his observations on life today, and a possible hint of what we can expect from him tomorrow. Whether working in stone or silver, his whimsical sense of humour gently suffuses his work—but the real essence that permeates through his art is his love for life, his family, and home.
The strength of his closeness to his family is no better illustrated than in his teapot imagery, in that it was his love for his grandmother, and the treasured childhood ritual of sharing a cup of tea that became the inspiration to produce his first teapot. She served tea as a ceremony, a welcome, and as a means for survival in a cold climate. His love for this vessel and the memories it evokes for him continue to inspire his creativity in this subject.
Michael Massie is a bright northern light that represents a unique voice for the future in Inuit art. He is truly a great Canadian artist. Come and share in the celebration by joining us for a cup of tea and hearing some stories from Michael on the 15th October, 2005.