Bob Boyer: His Life's Work
The Maturing of His Work: Lyrical, Spiritual and Representational Approaches in Boyer's Art
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[Image of “Powwow on Thunder Moutain”]
Narrator: Bob Boyer’s work was considered to be very political at the outset, but as he and the First Nation’s political movement matured it was reflected in his work. He was on the crest of contemporary First Nations thought.
[Inteview with Andrew Oko, Former Director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery (1986 – 1996), details from “Portrait of the Artist as a Storm”, “Trains-N-Boats-N-Plains: The Nina, the Santa Maria and a Pinto”]
Andrew Oko: I think in time his work will gain in stature and the context of his emerging as an artist during the Indian movement. An artist who was an example of the pluralistic approach of artists of our era …but how Bob and the artists of native ancestry of the time used these various approaches, various media to reflect on their own native identity…and in the process bring the issues that were really relevant to this rejuvenation. This continuity of native culture to the fore…That’s how I look at Bob’s work that it traveled from an angry polemicism, to a spiritual, joyousness and that with reflection of history, people will realize that the study of Bob’s work and outlook will be really important part of understanding that period that his life encompassed.
[Interview with Nicole Brabant, student, interspersed with images of First Nations University of Canada]
Nicole Brabant: He would often start a lecture in the art history course with an antidote and in, the antidote would lead into his lecture. What I came to learn was that information was still being conveyed as in with my other courses that I was taking with different instructors. But he had a way to make learning happen that …where it kinda crept in on you and it didn’t feel like a very rigid lecture. It felt relaxed, it felt laid back there was…there was, which created a room for exchange and the students were very comfortable in the classes. I really appreciated that mode of communicating information and since my first class with Bob I’ve had opportunities to teach in a couple of different jobs that I’ve held and I…I would consider taking his courses and learning his style of teaching as having an impact on me because it is a way that I would like to my lessons when appropriate.
[Interview footage of Lee-Ann Martin, Curator, Contemporary Canadian Aboriginal Art, Canadian Museum of Civilization, former Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery, interspersed with images of “Design for Leona” and “Design for Marie”]
Lee-Ann Martin: Two of the works that I was so excited to see were the two “Design for Leona” and “Design for Marie” which are, they were done in the mid 80’s and they’re wonderful water colours. There design, there taken from Métis bead work ,floral, you know…the flower beadwork and people …and he was doing that consciously for his mother Leona and his sister Marie too and they’re just like wonderful gifts and offerings to them saying you know …I’m happy for who I am, for who we are, and there wonderful, just soft, lyrical, loving designs and…they, to me they speak volumes about the diversity of Bob because at that same time he was known across the country indeed ...even at that time for his hard-edged, cutting, biting political works. So those two are wonderfully lyrical and poetic for me. That show another side of Bob that the public didn’t know at the time.
[Interview footage of Carment Robertson, Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts, University of Regina, cut-away to installation photos of “Sun Dance Shield” and “Pipe Dreams”
Carmen Robertson: One of the things that I find really compelling about Bob’s art is the indigenous aesthetic. The personal aesthetic, but really on the whole an indigenous aesthetic that’s brought into a sense of modernism and abstraction in ways that define him in new directions. You can’t, he’s not letting us forget or erase what’s happened in Canadian history in many of those paintings… and then sort of a shift into a more of a spiritual aspect. But through all of his work is this beautiful indigenous aesthetic that sets his work apart and pushes it up to the top levels. Cause that’s the kind of work we’re seeing from those top artists, contemporary Aboriginal artists in Canada and Bob very much is part of that, that top layer of artists for part, partly for that reason.
Size: 22.4 MB
Credits: Video produced by Blue Hill Productions