Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alex Janvier at the National Gallery

Lubicon, Alex Janvier, 1988

Earlier this month our text'art group went on a road trip to Ottawa's National Gallery. An inspired choice, Colleen!

We toured the Alex Janvier exhibit, which runs until April 17. This large show is very comprehensive. We see some of his student efforts, and observe how he developed a singular style that resonates with Dene visual imagery. We also see how in later years he continued to explore new approaches to painting. His entire oeuvre is on display, and represents a lifetime of serious artistic pursuit.

Janvier's association with the "Indian Group of Seven" is noted, and their individual paths to painting and printmaking can be compared.

Many of Janvier's paintings deal with issues such as the tragedy of the residential schools, and the conflicts over land use and treaty violations. The curator's notes and photos inform the viewers of the political significance of these themes. For example, the large painting pictured above was completed with Janvier's typical white background. As an act of protest over Lubicon land use issues, Janvier re-painted the background in a brilliant red.

With increasing coverage of native art and culture in the national media, Canadians will no doubt develop a greater appreciation of the range and talent of First Nations artists like Alex Janvier.

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