Rebecca Belmore, State of Grace, 2002, inkjet on paper, AP of an edition of 2. Gift of Ahmad Tabrizi, 2020
Rebecca Belmore is an Anishinaabe artist whose work articulates political and social realities of Indigenous peoples. Her work has publicly addressed notions of history, place and identity through sculpture, photography, installation, video, and performance.
State of Grace depicts a young Indigenous woman lying in apparent sleep or a state of unconsciousness, and surrounded by white cloth. She looks serene, yet the image has been cut into strips, its delicate form fluttering in any air movement, suggesting not only vulnerability but violence inflicted on her body. Belmore has developed a lexicon of physical and material gestures in her work. She addresses the unresolved violence of settler colonialism and the erasure of identity through the use of performance.
A member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Rebecca Belmore is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist living in Toronto. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto); documenta 14 (Athens and Kassel); Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Toronto); Vancouver Art Gallery; and the 2005 Venice Biennale. Belmore received the Gershon Iskowitz Prize 2016; the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2013; the Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award in 2009; the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award in 2004; and Honorary Doctorates from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2017) and OCAD University (2005).
Kathryn Walter, An Intervention Represented, 1989, 8 offset printed photographs, printed pamphlet with essay, printed envelope. Gift of Bill Jeffries, 2020
Kathryn Walter’s work from the 1980s raises questions related to the systems underlying the transactions and power plays by which real estate development operates. Walter’s eight black and white postcards depict her poetic and critical footnotes to development permit application signage in Vancouver. The postcards are offshoots of Walter’s series Redevelopment: An Intervention, from 1988. As visually discrete but politically pointed messages to a city caught in a race for so-called world class status through the language of male domination, Walter appropriated phrases from Harlequin romance novels, painted them on wood panels and added them to the bottom of 20 permit application signs during Vancouver’s development boom of the late-1980s. Using a similar form as the permit applications, these footnotes were able to remain unnoticed for months.
Kathryn Walter is a Toronto based artist, designer, curator, and educator. Walter has made a significant contribution to our understanding of development, capital, and art in Vancouver.
Michael de Courcy, Greetings from the Urban Wilderness, 1976, fold out postcards in the form of 11 offset printed photographs, 5 double-sided + 1 on the obverse of the explorer’s trail map, with text by the artist. Gift of Bill Jeffries, 2020; Michael de Courcy, Urban Wilderness Revisited: Nine Selected Views, 1987, 9 selected black and white images from the series “Urban Wilderness Revisited” (held in a title folder, in a plastic envelope). Gift of Bill Jeffries, 2020
Over the past 40 years, Michael de Courcy has worked with photography, printmaking, publishing, public art, installations, and web-based media projects. Since the 1960s, picturing Vancouver has been a consistent theme of several artistic practices, especially in photography, including in the work of de Courcy. Thinking through photographic media and its dissemination, de Courcy takes up the perception, histories and myths of Vancouver as a young city, as well as issues with colonizing wilderness and Indigenous lands. Greetings from the Urban Wilderness and Urban Wilderness Revisited demonstrate an ongoing dialogue with the city of Vancouver.
Greetings from the Urban Wilderness is a foldout of postcards that record aspects of the artist’s view of the city. The foldout is derived from the 1975 event / exhibition, Urban Wilderness, which consisted of three self-guided walks in downtown Vancouver that focused the participant’s attention on the urban landscape and its ephemeral elements, rather than its architecture. de Courcy attached photographs, sealed in plastic, to utility poles, put up direction arrows and painted images on sidewalks, like a pair of feet, to indicate the spot where viewers should stand to get a particular view of the mountains.
Urban Wilderness Revisited: Nine Selected Views are black and white photocollages that reveal surreal views of Vancouver, juxtaposing urban and natural landscapes. This work was produced for a 25-year retrospective of de Courcy’s work at the Richmond Art Gallery in 1987.
Michael de Courcy is a Vancouver based artist. In the late 1960s, de Courcy was a core member of the Vancouver artists collective known as the Intermedia Society, whose influence was felt widely across Canada and beyond. de Courcy has made a significant contribution to Vancouver and Canadian art communities. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is represented in many public and private collections, including those of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
Stan Douglas, Guilty, 1950 (2010), 2013, digital fibre print mounted on dibond aluminum, 5/25 (with 5 APs). Gift of Fiona Bowie, 2020
Stan Douglas is one of Canada's most important contemporary artists, whose work takes up the history of literature, cinema and music, while examining the failed utopias of modernism and technological progress.
Douglas produced his Midcentury Studio series of photographs in 2010, staging a series of photographs under the conceptual premise that they were the work of an anonymous Vancouver photographer practicing between 1945 and 1951. Work in the series includes studio shots of fashion and hair models, promotional shots for entertainers, candid street scenes, and film noir-like snapshots of possible crime figures caught in the glare of a blinding flash bulb, destined for the newspaper pages. Guilty, 1950 (2010) is of this latter category. Reminiscent of the crime photography of Weegee (Arthur Fellig), the work depicts a man walking up a narrow stairwell, covering his face with his open palm against the ambushing flash of the photographer. The photograph is an example of the artist’s practice of re-examining historical, site-specific milieux, particularly the imaging of postwar North American diversions from cabaret to sports. The photograph speaks to notions of history and reproduction, and offers a partial portrait of a specific place and time.
Stan Douglas is a Vancouver based artist and his multidisciplinary photo, film and video-based work has been exhibited and presented internationally for the past 30 years. Douglas’s work has been included in four Venice Biennales; documenta IX, X and XI; and was the 2016 recipient of the Hasselblad Prize. Douglas will represent Canada in the 2022 Venice Biennale.
Andy Everson, Eagle Nest, 2009, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Andy Everson’s Eagle Nest, uses a 2-fold rotational symmetry to create a spindle whorl design with two eagle figures that swirl and fit perfectly together to complete the outer circle. This rotational symmetry, as well as the inverted colours of the two eagle figures, gives the design a dynamic circular motion.
Andy Everson is a Kwakwaka'waka / Coast Salish artist. He holds a Master‘s degree in anthropology and his thesis focused on expressions of contemporary Comox identity. His work in anthropology provided him with a background in linguistics and he runs a research and multimedia production company that specializes in the creation of Aboriginal language media, cultural research, and graphic and media design. Everson creates works that explore and express his ancestral roots in contemporary imagery.
lessLIE, Middle Point, 2008, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020; lessLIE, tHEIRS, 2009, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Middle Point uses a 4-fold rotational symmetry spindle whorl design comprised of four salmon heads. Each of the salmon heads also looks like an individual flower petal and, when combined, create a floral form. The depiction of both animal and floral forms along with the use of rotational symmetry are elements seen in many traditional Salish spindle whorls.
tHEIRS is a spindle whorl design that uses reflective symmetry, both horizontally and vertically. This design depicts two circular human faces placed at the top and bottom with the centre circle used to form the shared mouth. The faces appear complete on their own, but combined, make a larger figure 8. On either side of the faces, the shapes created resemble an overhead view of a small bird’s head with spread wings. tHEIRS was originally painted on a drum and the beige background references the colour of deer hide, and the ochre red and black colours are a traditional Salish colour scheme.
lessLIE is a Coast Salish artist. Born Leslie Robert Sam, he decolonized his name to lessLIE in reference to the deception and betrayal that First Nations peoples suffered as a result of colonization. lessLIE holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in First Nations Studies from Malaspina University-College and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Victoria. lessLIE has shown nationally and internationally and his works can be found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde (Landesmuseum und Planetarium) (Münster, Germany). He has had solo exhibitions at Two Rivers Gallery (Prince George) and Alcheringa Gallery (Victoria). In 2013, he co-curated the exhibition Urban Thunderbirds / Ravens in a Material World at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Maynard Johnny Jr., Spa Eth, 2008, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020; Maynard Johnny Jr., Wuhus, 2008, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Spa Eth is a square, symmetrical closeup design of a bear’s face and front paws. The bear’s paws split at the middle, which creates a line that frames the bottom half of its face, allowing the rest of the face to fit squarely into the top half of the page. The bear has a stern and powerful look with small, focused eyes and brows that swoop down towards the middle of the face. The snout is placed directly at the centre of the page with a closed mouth. Maynard Johnny Jr. also uses multiple crescents, which are traditional Salish design elements, under the eyes, to divide the toes and to define the paws.
Wuhus is a square symmetrical closeup, balanced design of an image of a frog’s face. The main focal point is the frog’s large white and black eyes and the red tongue. These features give the design a playful appearance. The tongue hangs down, which references the ability of the frog to stretch it when hunting. Wuhus is a contemporary design that also incorporates traditional crescents and trigons.
Maynard Johnny Jr. is a Kwakwaka'wakw / Coast Salish artist. His works across media, including printmaking, wood carving of masks and panels, and designing and creating jewellery in silver and gold. Johnny Jr. has designed logos for many Indigenous organizations and has won a number of design awards. A large sculpture of a salmon he designed was donated to the World Trade Centre in New York to honour those lost in 9 / 11. Johnny Jr.’s work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Victoria and Vancouver. He was featured in the Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2 exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design, (New York) in 2005, and 2009 his work adorned the cedar gift boxes that were given to special guests at the Canadian Juno Music Awards. His works can also be seen in film and television.
John Marston, Salmon Cycle, 2008, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
John Marston’s Salmon Cycle depicts a free-floating inner circle comprised of various animal forms — birds, wolves and salmon — with a square border made of long featherlike shapes. The two distinct parts of this design evoke a frame around a painting. Marston’s design breaks from the traditional drum and spindle whorl designs to create a contemporary layout.
John Marston is a Coast Salish artist. Marston was honoured with the BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art in 2009 and in 2013 he opened his first solo exhibition at the Inuit Gallery (Vancouver). Marston has pieces on permanent display at the Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver), Nanaimo Airport, Vancouver International Airport, the Vancouver Convention Centre, CFB Esquimalt, and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). His work has also been featured in numerous publications and is held in many private collections.
Luke Marston, Thunderbird & Killer Whale, 2010, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Luke Marston’s Thunderbird & Killer Whale uses traditional black and red ochre colours, but does not use any formal symmetry and is a contemporary, free flowing design with animals and smooth curves. The main focus is the thunderbird’s face, in black, which stretches diagonally across the design and shows the traditional structure of the bird with its curved beak, where trigons are used throughout on the beak, eye, at the back of the head and along the length of the horn. The thunderbird’s claw is at the bottom of the design with the tail of a killer whale above its head, where the stylized design of the dorsal fin is tucked between the thunderbird’s beak and claw.
Luke Marston is a Coast Salish artist. He has exhibited in Canada, the United States and Japan. He has had commissions for the Canadian government, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and the Vancouver Airport. Marston’s work was in two major exhibitions: Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2 exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design (New York) in 2005 and Transporters: Contemporary Salish Art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2007.
Susan Point, Devotion, 2009, intaglio, etching, chine colle, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Susan Point’s Devotion is a 2-fold symmetrical design of a bear holding a tree frog, and is a mix of contemporary and traditional Salish designs. The design uses individual floating shapes, which come together to form the bodies of the frog and the bear, giving the design a three-dimensional feel. Unlike many Salish designs, the colour is subtle and only along the outer edges, which makes the image look more like a line drawing. While the frog and the bear are nestled together, they are still distinct images of each animal.
Susan Point is a Musqueam Coast Salish artist who was born in Alert Bay and grew up on the Musqueam Indian Reserve. She studied collections of Coast Salish art at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and the Royal BC Museum. Her work has been shown widely across Canada and was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2017. Point’s work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery and National Gallery of Canada. She has been recognized with an Indspire Achievement Award, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, a BC Creative Achievement Award, appointed lifetime member to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, selected to the International Women’s Forum, and was one of Vancouver’s 2012 Remarkable Women. She holds Honorary Doctorates from University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art and Design; is an Officer of the Order of Canada; and has been presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada.
Dylan Thomas, Mandala, 2010, silkscreen, 40/50. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2020
Dylan Thomas’s Mandala combines the Salish spindle whorl with the Mandala, an ancient Eastern symbol. Mandalas come from Hindu and Buddhist cultures, and are complex circular designs that represent the universe and are usually comprised of symmetrical geometric forms. Thomas’s design is formed using a series of concentric circles and squares with the pattern repeating at each level, and with each square being rotated 45 degrees as the design moves towards the centre. This design is an 8-fold reflective symmetry with the shapes getting smaller and simpler as they move towards the centre. This blending of Salish and Eastern designs re-interprets the traditional spindle whorl, making it contemporary.
Dylan Thomas is a Coast Salish artist and grew up in the urban setting of Victoria, but was introduced to Coast Salish art at a young age because his family continued to participate in their culture and traditions. His work has been published in The Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (Taylor and Francis, and in Contemporary Art on the Northwest Coast by Karen and Ralph Norris. Thomas has studied other forms of traditional geometric art, and his work has been deeply influenced by Vajrayana Buddhist mandalas, Celtic knots, Islamic tessellations, and many other ancient geometric art traditions. In 2013, Thomas was featured in the Urban Thunderbirds / Ravens in a Material World at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and he held his first solo exhibit, Sacred Geometry, at Alcheringa Gallery (Victoria), 2016.
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