Jutai Toonoo, New Ice, 2012, conté on black paper, 76 x 111 cm (30" x 43")
in collaboration with Feheley Fine Arts
372 Ste-Catherine West #216, Montreal H3B 1A2
VIEWS OF THE SHOW
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ABOUT THE SHOW
Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is proud to present North-South Encounter – an exhibtion of works produced by Ed Pien during his time in Cape Dorset and of the artists with whom he shared the Kinngait studios. These artists are members of a new generation that is redefining Inuit art. This three week encounter took place as the inaugural North-South Visiting Artists Residency Program established by TD Bank Group. Since the 1960s the Toronto-Dominion Bank has developed an in-depth Inuit art collection. This exhibition highlights the dialogue and relevance of this new residence program. Inuit artists now continue to preserve Northern traditions while adapting to southern influences, spending time and working with artists like Ed Pien who are confronted by the realities these Inuit artists face, expanding worldviews mutually.
The gallery would like to thank Feheley Fine Arts with whom it shares Space Centre in Toronto.
"My encounter with Cape Dorset began in 2004 by experiencing and falling in love with Shuvinai Ashoona's large-scale tiled drawing depiction of it. The entire scene was obsessively and meticulously rendered using pen and ink that consumed 12 sheets of paper. Made in 2003, Composition (Overlooking Cape Dorset) presents a massive Kinngait (mountain). Dense, dark and animistic, it seems to pour down and invade the rest of the land. Prefabricated box houses dot the nearly deserted settlement around it, linked by wired telephone poles and a scattering of dirt roads.
On November 5th 2012, Pat Feheley, Pamela Meredith, Johannes Zits and I flew from Toronto to Ottawa, then Iqualuit and further north until we touched down in Cape Dorset. On each leg of the journey, we were ushered into progressively smaller planes with yet colder cabins.
Upon arrival, Bill Ritchie (the studio manager at the Kinngait Studio Co-Op) helped me settle down to work among highly respected artists whom I had the honour of previously meeting in Toronto: Shuvinai Ashoona, Itee Pootoogook, Tim Pitsiluak, Jutai Toonoo, and Ohotaq Mikkigak.
The first drawing I attempted is entitled Ice Scraping Drawing Earth. Made with unrestrained gestures and utmost speed, my hands gripped five or so coloured pencils as I lashed at the paper. Making this drawing helped articulate my awe at the elemental gestures, movements and energy of ice moving over land, evidenced by the gouging marks that I saw from the plane's bird's eye view. Two other works, Wind Drawing Water and Light Drawing Cosmos ensued shortly thereafter.
The next set of drawings, Nuna/Land, done with ink and brush, depict chunks of rocks that I first saw in Shuvinai's Composition and then walked on in real life.
The Nuna drawings were followed by the Sea Dogs series. While negotiating the rocky and half-frozen shoreline, I recalled Jimmy Manning once telling me how grown-ups warn youngsters to stay away from the edge flow or else sea dogs would grab and pull them into the water. I imagined the existence of such creatures and their eyes all trained on me as I ventured so dangerously close to the open body of freezing dark water.
Amauti developed from another suite of ink drawings that I made, flirting with imaginary creatures that may surely exist within this animistic and vital land.
Ed Drawing Shuvinai Drawing Ed is based on a small gesture drawing realized from a live-drawing session with Shuvinai, Tim and Jutai.
I gratefully acknowledge the TD Bank for funding this Cape Dorset Residency; Scott Mullin and Pamela Merdith, both from TD; Pat Feheley of Feheley Fine Arts, Dorset Fine Arts, William Ritchie, Shuvinai Ashoona, Jutai Toonoo, Jimmy Manning, the staff, other artists at the co-op studios and Johannes Zits. I would also like to sincerely thank the students, teachers and staff at the Peter Pitseolak High School for their enthusiastic effort and support in collectively realizing the Giant Snowy Owl video."
- Ed Pien
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Shuvinai Ashoona (b. 1961) began to draw in the early 1990s. Although never formally trained, Ashoona's family and the Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset have provided her with a creative atmosphere. Her grandmother is the renowned artist Pitseolak Ashoona and her father is sculptor Kiawak Ashoona.
In the past Ashoona's work tended to focus on the Arctic landscape. Today, her work explores a new dynamism through compositions that depict human figures and other creatures with cleverly hidden imagery, and utilizes a wide colour spectrum. The evolution in Ashoona's artistic style points to a highly developed artistic sensibility. Her often unusual and imaginative creatures, animals, and monsters are balanced by a very careful and detailed drawing technique. Her work is comprised of both the elements of her community environment as well as the personal world of her own imagination.
Represented in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Canada, her work has been included in several international exhibitions, such as Basel, Switzerland's 'City Sky' (2008), the Sydney Biennale (2012), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's major exhibition "Oh, Canada" (2012). She is a leading contemporary Canadian artist and is in numerous collections of major art institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the BMO Financial Group, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Fidelity Investments Corporate Art Collection, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the TD Bank Group, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Ed Pien is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Pien has exhibited nationally and internationally including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Drawing Centre, New York; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Centro Nacional é las Artes, Mexico City; the Goethe Institute, Berlin; Middlesbrough Art Gallery, UK; W139, Amsterdam; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Contemporary Art Museum in Monterrey, Mexico; Bluecoat, Liverpool; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and La Biennale de Montreal 2000 and 2002 and recently at the Moscow Bienale (2013), Sydney Biennale (2012) and in the Oh Canada exhibition at MassMoca. His ambitious large-scale installations, drawings and paper cuts are featured in the permanent collections of many Canadian museums including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
Tim Pitsiulak (b. 1967) has been a member of the artistic community of Cape Dorset for years. He began carving as a young boy and later took up printmaking. An accomplished sculptor and jewellery-maker, he is best known for his drawings. His first solo exhibition was held at Feheley Fine Arts in 2009 and was highly successful. A second solo show followed in 2011.
In 2005, Pitsiulak's lithograph 'Caribou Migration' was included in the Cape Dorset annual print release for the first time. The land and its wildlife served as the primary source of inspiration for the young artist. With his jewellery and sculpture he creates realistic depictions of animals. These remain an important part of his signature graphic style. Well-known for his intricate yet epic large-scale drawings, Pitsiulak is at the forefront of contemporary Inuit art. Since his solo exhibitions in 2009 and 2011, Pitsiulak has become one of the most sought-after contemporary graphics Inuit artists, and has been featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario's publication (2010) and exhibition, "Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection" (2011). He was also the subject of an in-depth article in The Walrus Magazine's July/August 2012 issue.
Tim Pitsiulak is in the permanent collections of The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Gallery of Canada, and the TD Bank Financial Group.
Itee Pootoogook (b. 1951) has been drawing intermittently for years, but it was within the last 6 years that he has become actively involved with the Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset. His main focus has been the northern landscape and the people from his community. His landscapes explore the changing seasons in broad colour fields that evoke the interplay between land, sea, ice and sky.
The serenity of Pootoogook's brightly coloured drawings of contemporary Cape Dorset have won him a wide audience amongst collectors, curators, and artists alike. His first solo exhibition, "Itee Pootoogook: An Arctic Lens", at Feheley Fine Arts in 2010, put Pootoogook at the forefront of contemporary Inuit artists. He has since been exhibited in the Art Gallery of Ontario's exhibition and publication "Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection" (2011), and was featured at the MacLaren Art Centre paired with Canadian artist, Tim Zuck (2012).
Pootoogook's work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Senvest Collection of Canadian Art, and the TD Financial Bank Group.
A cutting edge contemporary artist, Jutai Toonoo (b. 1959) is a commanding ambassador of contemporary Inuit art, creating works that rarely conform to the traditional assumptions about the style and substance of Inuit art. He belongs to the middle generation of Inuit artists who hover somewhere between the old and new worlds of the Arctic, negotiating an identity that is at once introspective and worldly. Through the blending of traditional and modern themes, Toonoo departs from ethnic expectations. He often comments on current social concerns within Inuit communities, such as drug addiction and aboriginal identity, as well as other social and political issues on an international level.
His style is truly individual and his works are often considered to be personal expressions of his own emotional life – tackling issues of isolation and the search for identity. His portraits are bold and powerful subjects while his landscapes show his love and sensitivity to his home. His expressive technique is most often portrayed through the medium of oil stick which enables him to blend strong colours while also creating texture.
Toonoo's work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Gallery of Canada, and the TD Bank Financial Art Group.
Papiara Tukiki was born in 1942 at Nuwata, an outpost camp on Foxe Peninsula. She is a long time resident of Cape Dorset and a regular and prolific participant in the Co-op studios. Papiara states, "I remember how it was before we lived in the settlement. We needed all of these animals for food and clothing and just to live. I like to draw them. I also like to draw the way that we used to live, people in camps and travelling. Sometimes I just draw something that I thought of which is not real."