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Kerry Thompson: Koru

Kerry Thompson: Koru

Māori Solo Exhibition

October 2 - October 25, 2004


The name of this exhibition, Koru, refers to the uncurling spiral of the new fern frond. A most traditional icon in Maori culture, it has come to symbolize new life, new growth, and new beginnings. It is a motif that recurs throughout Maori art and is a favourite design form of the artist.

Kerry Thompson (1967-) has now been carving for twenty years. He has established his position as the leading Maori artist working in the bone medium, and he has developed an immediately recognizable personal style in his work that can include his signature two-tone staining process, which sets his work apart.

He works in a wide variety of materials including cattle bone, whale bone, ivory, mother of pearl, jade, wood, silver, and semi precious stones.

Having attended a diploma course in Maori Design at Waiariki Polytechnic, he also learned from Hepi Maxwell, Rex Christianson, and other artists working in the similar media. In 1992 he earned a position as a jade tutor for the Whangaroa Trust in Kaeo. Later, in 1994, through a grant from Te Waka Toi, he became a full time artist working primarily in jade and bone.

Kerry still produces his ornate “wearable art” in varied mediums, but over the last several years has also moved to produce larger and more challenging works, such as sculptural masks and figurative forms, as well as inlaid flutes, delicate heru (decorative ceremonial combs), and carved vessels.

His art has a contemporary flavour, while incorporating elements of traditional Maori design, which compliment his complex curvilinear sense of design. His work has been well received by both critics and collectors both in New Zealand and overseas (and was catalogued recently in the “Kiwa – Pacific Connections” exhibition at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in September 2003).

Artist Statement:

I would like to dedicate this exhibition to the life of my father, Karl TePuhi Pekaitara Wikiriwhi Thompson, who passed away on the 18th August 2004.

He was privileged to be named after his ancestor, the paramount Maori Chief of Ngati Paoa, Tukua TePuhi Te Rauroha, who died in 1906. He was brother to 25 siblings, father of five and three of his sons are master carvers.

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The Spirit Wrestler team: Colin Choi, Derek Norton, Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt, have been together now for over 30 years representing master-level Inuit, Northwest Coast, and Māori art - and for the last 20 years as the Spirit Wrestler Gallery. We are celebrating this amazing 20-year journey with a “birthday” exhibition, “Reflections 20Years”. The exhibition will feature many of the great artists from the three extraordinary cultures that we represent that have shared and supported us on this journey… and it is also a “thank you” for all of you who have made this journey so much fun! The Spirit Wrestler Gallery was founded in 1996 and quickly became one of the foremost galleries of first-nation art in North America. The name Spirit Wrestler originates from the title of the book by James Houston that tells the story of a young shaman learning his powers in the Canadian north. At the time, the gallery was looking for a name that allowed for the consideration of both traditional and shamanist-based arts here in Canada, as well as embracing the work by other artists from around the world. Early exhibitions included artists from Alaska, the Canadian Plains, and the Māori from New Zealand, being shown in the same room as Northwest Coast and Inuit art. The cross-cultural interactions have offered a unique fusion in the gallery and generated many group and solo exhibitions that we have hosted over the years. We were witnessing the trend of a growing interaction internationally between artists who were travelling far afield to research the art and modern cultural practices of other nations - and along the way, forging friendships that have endured across great distances. The last two decades have also been an exciting transition time for the arts being created by all three cultures. There was a pronounced movement towards the incorporation of new materials, such as glass, bronze, and polymers - which has opened new avenues for the art itself, both in terms of subject and scale. To be a part of seeing the artists exhibiting their work side-by-side has been very exciting and has made the Spirit Wrestler Gallery a unique and challenging experience for any visitor. We have had the privilege of representing many of the greatest Northwest Coast, Inuit, and Māori artists of our time - and have have had the privilege of showing a great number of the most important pieces produced over the last three decades. It has been an honour to share this long journey with so many great artists and clients. Thank you all so much for your belief and support.

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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

47 Water Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 1A1

Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
Phone: 604-669-8813

info@spiritwrestler.com

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3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.

Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5