November 9, 2015

Northwest Coast Native Panels

Large carved panels are a staple within the Northwest Coast Native art market, but they are a contemporary art form. Bentwood boxes, poles, and masks have long been created for both cultural and artistic purposes, but decorative panels only began emerging in the 1990s. One explanation for this development lies in the fact that paintings on paper and canvas, which are pervasive in conventional art galleries, are not common within the Northwest Coast market. Carved and painted panels are a fusion of traditions: wall-mounted compositions created through carving. From the traditional to the bright and modern, Lattimer Gallery has several outstanding panels right now:

Heiltsuk artist Dean Hunt’s Hzí (Frog) Bounce is a playful 36” diameter panel comprised of light and dark greens. Representing a frog in motion, the figure appears as though it could hop right out of the wood due to the depth Dean achieved by dropping all of the negative space down by ½”. This animated sculpture is available for $6,000.00 CAD.

Tsimshian/Cree artist Phil Gray’s rectangular red cedar panel depicting two killerwhales is titled Gestation and measures  48” x 24” x 1 ¾”. Representing a mother orca and newborn orca, this deeply-carved panel contains a great amount of movement and tension. Two human figures can also be seen within this clever composition. Phil’s panel is available for $8,000.00 CAD.

Haida artist Corey Bulpitt has carved a red cedar panel titled Skaana (Killerwhale) that strongly demonstrates his tendency to create designs that extend beyond strict formline composition. This piece contains all of the classic elements of a whale design in plain oiled cedar – the head, blowhole, tail flukes – yet the dorsal fin has been superimposed across the entire composition in black and red paint. Corey’s 36” round panel is available for $6,000.00 CAD.

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Rande Cook’s Thunderbird panel contains elegant lines and fluid forms. The details within this 36” diameter panel are delightful. From the knife-finished bevelled edge to the carefully domed ovoids, this piece demonstrates Rande’s talent as both a carver and designer. Unlike many representations of the mythical Thunderbird, Rande’s appears serene with its closed beak, small horns, and tucked talon. Rande’s panel is available for $6,000.00 CAD.

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