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Bill Reid Gallery offers up the Intangible in new exhibition

"The original works to be discovered by these emerging and established artists challenge pre-conceived notions of ‘Coast Salish art’, while referencing the techniques passed down for millennia.” — Beth Carter, curator of the Bill Reid Gallery

The next major exhibition at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is called Intangible, Memory and Innovation in Coast Salish Art. The collection goes on display from Sept. 13 to Dec. 10.

Influenced by ancestral teachings, six artists will reveal their contemporary creations, including blown-glass sculptures, copper jewelry, fibre textiles, and multimedia works.

“The artistic traditions of the Coast Salish are diverse and driven by esoteric knowledge that is shared from one generation to the next, in continuous flux,” said Beth Carter, curator of the Bill Reid Gallery.

“Each artist featured at Intangible comes from a unique background. Some are primarily influenced by their respective lineages, while others have found inspiration from sources within and outside their immediate community,” explained Carter.

“This fluidity of knowledge gathering opens the way for a wealth of new and exciting ideas to surface. As a result, the original works to be discovered by these emerging and established artists challenge pre-conceived notions of ‘Coast Salish art’, while referencing the techniques passed down for millennia.”

The Intangible project is led by Guest Curator Sharon Fortney, an Indigenous scholar of Klahoose and German ancestry. She is a specialist in Coast Salish material culture, and has worked with renowned institutions, including the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Vancouver, and the Seattle Art Museum.

Intangible will feature previously crafted, as well as never-before-seen works from six artists:

Aaron Nelson-Moody (Tawx’sin Yexwulla), from the Squamish nation is a master jewelry-maker of intricate repoussé pieces, a skill he honed studying under local, celebrated craftsmen Dan Wallace Simeon, Phil Janzé, and with world-renowned designer/silversmith Valentin Yoktov in New York.

lessLIE (Leslie Sam) hails from the Cowichan tribes. While working in a number of mediums, he is best known for his serigraph prints. Often politically-charged, his creations invoke irony and humour through text inspired by Picasso’s words, “art is a lie that tells the truth.”

Marvin Oliver, an acclaimed Quinault / Isleta Pueblo sculptor, works in cedar, bronze, steel and glass. He is celebrated for his large-scale works such as the 26-ft suspended steel & glass installation, Mystical Journey, at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. At Intangible, Oliver will present his latest blown-glass masterworks etched with bronze and photo prints.

Ostwelve (Ronnie Dean Harris), born in the Sto:lo Territory of BC (Fraser Valley), is a multi-media art practitioner fueled by a passion for filmmaking and hip-hop. As a performer, he has toured the world, opening for rappers Snoop Dogg and Coolio early in his career. He will debut a new work examining Salish land in the urban context.

Roxanne Charles, a member of the Semiahmoo First Nation in Surrey tackles Indigenous women’s issues through a variety of mediums, including fibre weaving. Her monumental installations and artistic concepts frequently incorporate performance and story-telling.

Tracy Williams (Sesemiya) is a talented Squamish weaver, and traditionalist, who is not afraid to experiment or make mistakes while reclaiming lost knowledge. Through experimentation with plant, animal, and mineral components, she has recovered lost knowledge relating to weaving practices while addressing issues of land sovereignty. Sharing her practices with younger generations is a key aspect of her work;

Intangible is sponsored by the Audain Foundation. The gallery is located a 639 Hornby St. in Vancouver.

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