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Shuvinai Ashoona: A For Sure World

October 14 – November 25, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 14 2:00-4:00pm

Introduction

The Marion Scott Gallery is pleased to present Shuvinai Ashoona: A For Sure World. Opening October 14 and continuing through November 25, the exhibition brings together 35 images on paper produced across the last 15 years. The artist’s first major solo exhibition in Vancouver in a decade, the wide ranging show will give viewers on the West Coast a unique opportunity to experience the otherworldly vision and surreal sensibility of this acclaimed contemporary Canadian artist.

Ever since they first started coming to the public’s attention in the late 1990s, Shuvinai Ashoona’s densely worked images on paper have consistently startled the art world with their intensity of expression, masterful craftsmanship and imaginative vitality of vision. Working from her Cape Dorset base in Canada’s Far North, Ashoona has created a unique body of work in which the everyday is not always what it appears. By turns uncanny, comical and disquieting, Ashoona’s idiosyncratic dream-like imagery erases the distinctions between the natural and spirit worlds, and between the real and imagined.

Included in the exhibition are several works featuring Ashoona’s now trademark depictions of planet Earth, often portrayed multiple times within a single image. One coloured pencil drawing on black paper features Sedna, the half-human half-whale Inuit goddess, holding a green and blue globe in one hand and a traditional crescent knife, or ulu, in the other. In another image, a constellation of overlapping globes float over the horizon of a treeless northern landscape, while various cutting tools—axes, ulus and knives—seem to descend from the sky down towards the ground. With their combinations of indigenous objects and planetary motifs, these works form of a union of the local with the global as seen through the lens of Ashoona’s singular vision.

In a major untitled drawing from 2016, a female figure with purple tights and turquoise socks transforms into an unfolding series of snake- and monster-like creatures with tentacles. One of the artist’s most outlandish works, the figure’s torso is replaced with an image of the earth, while a second earth takes the place of the head. A single human eye floats across the surface of the upper globe. With its potent mother earth imagery and otherworldly tangle of shifting shapes, Ashoona’s large masterwork exemplifies her powerful female-centred expression. Other works in the exhibition are devoted to the theme of animal and bird bones. In a black-and-white extended format image from 2015, Ashoona has portrayed a multitude of tiny bird bones strung in a narrow band across the length of the page. Bird Bones is one of the most abstract images in the show.

The exhibition also features several portraits. In some of these works, people with big smiles or impassive stares are seen holding oversized bank cheques issued by the local co-op—a humorous reference to the well-publicized role of commerce in art making in Cape Dorset. In one large recent drawing, a group of three musicians in country and western attire play together, an amusing image of cultural dissonance in a northern context. Other works exemplify Ashoona’s distinctive approach to portraying the treeless Arctic landscape. Eschewing artistic convention, these horizon-less images render the northern terrain as series of abstract sculptural rock formations. In one densely worked image from 2005, monster-like creatures with long claws and horns emerge out of the rock shapes, giving the landscape a fantastic spiritual dimension.

The exhibition includes two recently completed monumentally scaled works made in oil stick. Taking full advantage of the medium’s rich paint-like character, these boldly coloured works serve as a surprising counterpoint to the artist’s quieter, more delicate pencil crayon and pen drawings. In one, an assortment of people join hands in a circle between some traditional white canvas tents and a boxy green wooden structure identified as an Anglican church. The second work is even more massive, and shows an underwater panorama featuring and an orange octopus-like creature, a fancy purple and red fish, bright green kelp and a patterned white and grey seal with flippers and claws, all pictured against a deep blue field. The largest work ever made by the artist, Aquarium recalls earlier images by Ashoona that portray aquatic life under the sea.

1. untitled (landscape), 2003/2004 coloured pencil & ink on paper 19.5 x 26 in. / 49.53 x 66.04 cm. SOLD

2. untitled (lansdape) 2004/2005 coloured pencil & ink on paper 20 x 26 in. / 50.8 x 66.04 cm. $1600

3. untitled (landscape with spirits), 2005 coloured pencil & ink on paper 20 x 26 in. / 50.8 x 66.04 cm. $1600

4. I haven’t had enough of Kinngait, 2006 ink on paper 41.5 x 15 in. / 105.41 x 38.1 cm. SOLD

5. untitled (octopus and kelp), 2007 coloured pencil & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. $1600

6. untitled (aerial landscape), 2008 coloured pencil & graphite on paper 30 x 22 in. / 76.2 x 55.88 cm. $2400

7. untitled (eggs with animal), 2009 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. $2100

8. untitled (landsapce with boats and tree), 2009 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. SOLD

9. A For Sure World, 2009 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. SOLD

10. untitled (man sleeping with clams), 2010 ink on paper 25.5 x 19.5 in. / 64.77 x 49.53 cm. SOLD

11. untitled (woman with drawing), 2010 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. SOLD

12. Love of the Co-op, 2010 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.5 in. / 64.77 x 49.53 cm. $2100

13. untitled (two bears and seal), 2010 coloured pencil & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. $2000

14. untitled (two bears), 2010 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 48 x 50 in. / 121.92 x 127 cm. SOLD

15. untitled (landscape with globes and tools), 2010 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. SOLD

16. Flying Off Demon/Fly Off Demons, 2010 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. SOLD

17. untitled (three animals and birds), 2010 ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. SOLD

18. untitled (igloos and footprints), 2011 ink & coloured pencil on paper 19.5 x 25.5 in. / 49.53 x 64.77 cm. $2100

19. untitled (three-headed serpent), 2011 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 50 x 15 in. / 127 x 38.1 cm. SOLD

20. untitled (two people cutting seal), 2011 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 48 x 48 in. / 121.92 x 121.92 cm. SOLD

21. untitled (Sedna with ulu and globe), 2011 coloured pencil & graphite on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. SOLD

22. untitled (Sedna with globe), 2011 coloured pencil & graphite on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. $2200

23. untitled (Sedna with creatures), 2011 coloured pencil & graphite on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. $2100

24. untitled (person with garment going behind tent), 2011 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 25.5 x 19.75 in. / 64.77 x 50.17 cm. $2100

25. Art Paper Tree, 2011 ink on paper 19.5 x 25.5 in. / 49.53 x 64.77 cm. $2000

26. untitled (tents and globe), 2011 ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. $2000

27. Picture Boots 1, 2012 ink on paper 19.75 x 12.75 in. / 50.17 x 32.39 cm. SOLD

28. Picture Boots 2, 2012 ink on paper 19.75 x 12.75 in. / 50.17 x 32.39 cm. SOLD

29. Picture Boots 3, 2012 coloured pencil & ink on paper 19.75 x 12.75 in. / 50.17 x 32.39 cm. $1050

30. Home Sweet Home, 2012 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 19.75 x 25.5 in. / 50.17 x 64.77 cm. SOLD

31. untitled (people with rocks in front of bones on beach), 2015 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 24 x 51.25 in. / 60.96 x 130.18 cm. SOLD

32. Bird Bones, 2015 ink on paper 18.25 x 96.25 in. / 46.36 x 244.48 cm. SOLD

33. untitled, 2016 coloured pencil, graphite & ink on paper 90.75 x 47.75 in. / 230.51 x 121.29 cm. SOLD

34. untitled, 2017 oilstick on paper 51 x 126.5 in. / 129.5 x 321.3 cm. SOLD

35. untitled, 2017 oilstick on paper 51 x 182 in. / 129.5 x 462.3 cm. SOLD

Installation

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About the Gallery

Marion Scott Gallery

2423 Granville St.
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3G5
Canada

Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday & Monday by appointment

Tel: 604 685 1934
Fax: 604 685 1890
art@marionscottgallery.com

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