The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is excited to present our second fusion exhibition of small masterworks by artists from the three cultures that we represent: Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), First Nations of the Northwest Coast and Inuit of Alaska and Northern Canada.
We sincerely believe in the cross-cultural connection between aboriginal artists and over the last eight years have built our reputation on this philosophy. The world is becoming increasingly smaller as artists fly in to attend overseas conferences, cultural gatherings, and artist workshops. Many of these artists are participating in art collaborations or securing international commissions. Artists communicate through their art — bridging frontiers, languages and cultural boundaries. These lines are now becoming blurred as cultures also often share similar techniques, subject matter and designs.
The positive response, from both the participating artists and our viewing clientele, expressed how much they enjoyed the first Mini-Masterworks exhibition, inspired us to curate this collection. The original theme of securing memorable small gems remains the same, but with the idea of changing the mix by introducing different artists, exploring new directions, and providing a few surprises.
The Maori continue to reveal their versatility with artists creating exciting contemporary artworks in traditional materials of pounamu (jade), wood and harakeke flax, as well as in ceramics, metals and paintings on canvas.
The depth of artistic talent is also very evident in the Northwest Coast collection, with both the master and the younger artists producing extraordinary smaller works from frontlets, rattles and model totem poles, to intricate silver, gold and multi-inlaid argillite jewellery.
The Inuit, traditionally a nomadic culture who excelled in small amulets, continue to demonstrate their natural inclination towards miniatures. This wonderful selection of traditional and contemporary carvings has been made in a variety of materials by artists living across the Arctic, from Alaska in the west to Labrador in the east.
We are also very excited to have the support of Denise Wallace, a renowned master Aleut jeweler from Alaska, whom we have admired and respected for many years. She is a natural fit, with her close personal connection with many of the Maori and Northwest Coast artists exhibiting in this collection.
It is truly a pleasure building this cross-cultural exhibition as we continue to discover new artists and unique artworks. We hope that you will be amazed with this collection as much as we are.
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
Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
one block West of the Granville Island gates
Between Pine St. and Fir St.
Tuesday to Saturday, open 10-5
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5
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