December 6, 2017
Ah, the holidays—a time of gifts, gluehwein, and good cheer. For some, though, the crush of the crowds can be overwhelming and the desire to…
By Joanne Sasvari November 21, 2017 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
Natural beauty, First Nations culture, provocative social commentary—it’s all inspiration for British Columbia’s visual artists, who include some of the world’s most influential painters, sculptors, and photographers. Here are a dozen of the most renowned, and where you can see some of their greatest works.
Who: Born in Toronto and based on Salt Spring Island, Robert Bateman is an award-winning naturalist, painter, and author.
Best known for: Highly realistic and evocative paintings of wildlife in its natural habitat. Recognized by the Audubon Society as one of the 20th century’s “heroes of conservation.”
Signature artwork: Midnight Black Wolf
See his works here: The Robert Bateman Centre
Who: The Victoria-based Carr was one of Canada’s first modernist and post-impressionist painters, and welcomed as “one of us” by the Group of Seven. She was also an award-winning author and is considered a Canadian icon.
Best known for: The bold, evocative, haunting paintings she produced on trips to remote First Nations villages on Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, and the Hazeltons.
Signature artwork: Big Raven; Red Cedar
See her works here: Vancouver Art Gallery; Audain Art Museum; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Who: One of Canada’s—if not the world’s—keenest observers of contemporary culture, a writer, artist, and designer based in West Vancouver.
Best known for: Ground-breaking literary works such as Generation X and jPod, as well as artworks that explore pop culture through a variety of media ranging from acrylic paint to Lego blocks.
Signature artwork: Digital Orca
See his works here: Jack Poole Plaza and various locations around Vancouver
Who: Known as Guud San Gans, Haida for “Eagle of the Dawn,” Robert Davidson was born to a family of famous Haida artists, including his grandfather Charles Edenshaw, and is based in White Rock.
Best known for: Leading the renaissance of Haida art through printmaking, painting, jewelry, and carving totem poles and masks. In 1969, he carved and raised the first totem pole on Haida Gwaii in nearly 90 years.
Signature artwork: Bear Mother Totem Pole
See his works here: Massett on Haida Gwaii or visit his website for current exhibitions
Who: Considered by many to be the greatest of Haida artists, Edenshaw and his artist wife, Isabella, raised a family of gifted artists on Haida Gwaii and brought First Nations art into the modern era.
Best known for: Woodcarving, argillite carving, jewelry, and painting. Famed for his bentwood boxes and totem poles, as well as gold and silver engraving.
Signature artwork: Sea Bear bracelet
See his works here: Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Who: A Vancouver-based contemporary artist who combines elements of traditional First Nations and 20th century western cultures.
Best known for: Incorporating found art—notably athletic shoes and other gear—into painstakingly handcrafted works such as totem poles, which are at once witty, provocative, and political.
Signature artwork: Prototypes of New Understanding
See his works here: Audain Art Museum
Who: A Coast Salish printmaker and sculptor based in Vancouver, where several of her works are on public display. She is credited with reviving the art of Coast Salish design.
Best known for: Adapting traditional spindle whorl carvings into screen-printing, and for her sculptures in wood, glass, concrete, and bronze.
Signature artwork: Flight (Spindle Whorl)
See her works here: Vancouver International Airport; Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Who: A Scottish-German-Haida artist inspired by his great-great-uncle Charles Edenshaw, and a revered ambassador for First Nations culture.
Best known for: Reviving the design and symbolism of Haida art through jewelry, sculpture, painting, and screen-printing, working in traditional forms and depicting scenes from folklore. Many of his works are on public display, with one piece featured on the Canadian $20 bill.
Signature artwork: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii (The Jade Canoe)
See his works here: Bill Reid Gallery; Museum of Anthropology at UBC; Vancouver International Airport
Who: An icon of modern Canadian art, a painter, and teacher based mainly in Burnaby, who studied with Frederick Varley and was inspired by Emily Carr.
Best known for: A bold, muscular style and constant style metamorphosis from the social realism of urban street scenes to surrealist postwar landscapes and, in his later years, abstract depictions of nature and Aboriginal art.
Signature artwork: Butterfly Transformations
See his works here: Audain Art Museum; Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC
Who: Artist, designer, sculptor, jewelry maker, furniture maker, creator of functional art, based in Vancouver and Pemberton.
Best known for: Wearable sculptures that propelled her to fame in the 1980s and, in recent years, elegantly bold décor items and custom furniture made from resin, brass, steel, and wood; large-scale sculptures in brass, charred cedar, resin, and steel.
Signature artwork: Reflections series in Charred Cedar, Brass Undulating Series
See her works here: Martha Sturdy Gallery
Who: A Vancouver Island-based artist and gallery owner of Tsimshian, Haida, and Heilstuk ancestry, and passionate advocate for recovery from addiction and abuse.
Best known for: Limited edition prints in bold colours and clean lines, often depicting natural scenes and landscapes that incorporate First Nations motifs.
Signature artwork: Solstice series
See his works here: Eagle Aerie Gallery
Who: Vancouver-based photographer, teacher, and art historian who helped define the so-called Vancouver School, an influential group of of conceptual/post-conceptual photographers of the 1980s.
Best known for: Large, backlit cibachrome photographs of tableaux that combine Vancouver’s natural beauty with urban decay, stark industrial features, and social commentary.
Signature artwork: Picture for Women
See his works here: Audain Art Museum
Feature image: Visitors at the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: BC Ale Trail
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