Whitehorse Star photo by Vince Fedoroff
READY FOR DISPLAY - Valery Monahan, left, a conservator, and Garnet Muething, an art curator, touch up Yukon Seasons at the Canada Games Centre Tuesday. The artwork, which at one point was a theft target, was removed for restoration after the June 24 fire at the Centre, and was reinstalled Tuesday. All the community artworks have now been reinstalled.
photo credit - Paul Gowdie, Yukon Government
Yukon Seasons is shown following its second restoration, this time after a fire at the Canada Games Centre. From left to right, with Yukon Seasons are: Catherine Grashom, Department of Tourism and Culture, Arts Section, Yukon Territorial Government (YTG), Valery Monahan, Conservator, YTG, Garnet Muething, Art Curator, Department of Tourism and Culture, Arts Section, YTG, and Mike Nixon, Minister of Tourism and Culture, YTG.
photo credit - Paul Gowdie, Yukon Government
Valery Monahan, Conservator, recently completed cleaning Yukon Seasons of smoke from the Games Centre fire and also took advantage of the opportunity to redo the repair of the broken tine, which occurred during the 2007 theft. (See the image above.)
photo credit - Paul Gowdie, Yukon Government
Garnet Muething, Art Curator, is overseeing repairs and renovations to the display case which houses Yukon Seasons - adding low heat lighting and making certain structural changes.
Yukon Seasons Re-installed at Canada Games Centre
WHITEHORSE – The last piece of community artwork is set to be installed as part of the art restoration project that took place as a result of the June 24th fire at the Canada Games Centre.
Today at 1 p.m. staff from the Government of Yukon’s Culture Services Branch will install ‘Yukon Seasons’ (the Moose antler carving). The beautifully carved antlers have survived both theft and fire and will be placed back in its display case on the second floor concourse of the Canada Games Centre.
Artist Shane Wilson donated Yukon Seasons to the Friends of the Gallery for the Yukon Permanent Art Collection in 2006. The collection belongs to the people of Yukon, with the Government of Yukon acting as custodian of the collection. After the fire, Government of Yukon’s museums conservator Valery Monahan treated the piece for minor soot removal and reworked a previous repair.
“We’re very pleased that Yukon Seasons is back home at the Canada Games Centre,” Tourism and Culture Minister Mike Nixon said. “As a treasured piece of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, Yukon Seasons belongs on public display where residents and visitors can see and enjoy the sculpture as a unique and irreplaceable rendition of Yukon wildlife.”
COMMUNITY ARTWORK RESTORED AT THE CGC
WHITEHORSE – Following months of thorough restoration all artwork damaged as a result of the June 24th fire at the Canada Games Centre (CGC), has been restored and currently being installed, said Mayor Bev Buckway.
“It is with great pleasure that I announce that the over 20 major pieces of community artwork have been returned from being restored and are currently being installed,” announced Buckway. “The collection valued at over $200,000; includes sculptures, stained glass, fabric- based art, paintings, photos, carvings and murals by a variety of local Yukon artists,” added Buckway.
“This is one of the last stages in fully restoring the CGC after the fire and is anticipated to take the rest of the week to complete,” said Indoor Facilities Manager Art Manhire. “This is a valuable part of the cultural and social makeup of the centre and is something that the community is proud of,” added Manhire.
“I am pleased to say that we are almost at the end of a long and emotional restoration process of the Canada Games Centre that began immediately after the June 24th fire,” said Manhire. “Our hope is that in the next week we will be in a position to announce the complete return to full service at the CGC with the reopening o the ATCO Ice,” added Manhire.
(Wildlife Art Journal, screenshot)
REVISITING SHANE WILSON'S JOURNEY WITH FOUND ORGANIC OBJECTS: Canadian Artist is Winning Cosmopolitan Collectors Drawn To His Contemporary Designs
Written by Todd Wilkinson
Posted: November 7th 2011
"I live through my hands and tools: transforming thick, heavy bone and bronze, meant for massive collisions, into ethereal, otherworldly creations; precious oases in the midst of life." —Shane Wilson
A while back, Wildlife Art Journal magazine profiled Canadian sculptor and carver Shane Wilson. In the months that have passed since, his base of avid collectors has continued to grow. Some readers have asked us to highlight the story again in the wake of his work being featured in other magazines and following a successful showing of his work in Canada's famous Algonquin Park. You can access the WAJ story by clicking here .
Like the work above, a portrayal of tundra swans intricately carved from the 50,000-year-old tusk of a woolly mammoth, Wilson has amassed a body of work, based on found organic materials, that sets him apart among contemporary wildlife artists. In many ways, he borrows from the aboriginal traditions of artisans in the Far North and yet he bestows his tactile pieces with a modern edge.
Said Wilson earlier this year to an interview with the Algonquin Arts Centre where his works were on public exhibition: "Meaning is important to me. Original art expresses a coherent language, a language of the right-brain, whose syntax is colour, texture, form and symbol, grasped intuitively. I delight in taking found skulls, horns, antlers and bones and transforming them into fine art, expressions of the highest order, objects of rare beauty."
What Wilson does with the antlers and horns of big game animals he finds in the wild is nothing short of remarkable. He transcends the limitations of what some would consider folk or sporting art and creates pieces that are worthy of display in museums. He also takes grizzly and black bear skulls, as well as those of wolves and wolverine, casts them in bronze, then bestows them with alluring ornamentation and patinas. They have a tribal and primitive look. The people who collect and commission them aren't confined to just hunters. His collectors includes urban connoisseurs who have cosmopolitan fine art tastes and see in Wilson's work something that is both novel and likely to spark a conversation.
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival - Sculpted Dimensions Exhibition, photo by David Foyn
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival - Sculpted Dimensions Exhibition, photo by David Foyn
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival - Sculpted Dimensions Exhibition, 'Seahorses, 2007 by Shane Wilson photo by David Foyn
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival - Sculpted Dimensions Exhibition, 'Male Seahorse, 2007' by Shane Wilson, photo by John McFeeters
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival - Sculpted Dimensions Exhibition, 'Female Seahorse, 2007' by Shane Wilson, photo by John McFeeters
Ice Floe II - cover, University of Alaska Press, 2011
Ice Floe II - back cover, University of Alaska Press, 2011
Ice Floe II
International Poetry of the Far North
Edited by Shannon Gramse & Sarah Kirk
The long-awaited second volume of the newly revived Ice Floe series, Ice Floe II features new and exciting works of poetry from a vibrant and diverse group of writers from Alaska, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Iceland, and beyond. All work is presented in both its original language and in English translation. With contributors that include former Alaska poet laureate Tom Sexton, Riina Katajavuori, Yuri Vaella, Gunnar Randversson, and dozens of other established and emerging poets, this wonderful collection of voices from the northern latitudes will be a great read for all lovers of poetry and international literature.
“In the coldest reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, poetry is still heartily embraced....Ice Floe is a thoughtful collection on life in the cold, and proves to be quite the read.”—Midwest Book Review
Shannon Gramse is a poet and cofounder of Ice Floe. Sarah Kirk is a life-long Alaskan and cofounder of Ice Floe. They both teach English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
BUCKHORN FINE ART FESTIVAL - AUGUST 11-14, 2011
"The highly innovative and intricate carvings in antler by Shane Wilson combine the natural elements of the material and wildlife with abstract symbols. The resulting sculpture attains a definite sense of both traditional and contemporary sensibilities."
We had fun working together on his commission, 'Dall on the Rocks', completed earlier this year as a token of his trip to Yukon and Alaska in the summer of 2010.
His son John writes:
Harry and Joy Shore on a trip to the Yukon and Alaska in 2010
For some reason I feel compelled to write to you and just thank you very much for completing this project that Dad commissioned you to do. He recently passed away [May] and he and my mom just loved the Dall sheep that you did for them. It was representative of their Alaskan trip. His face beamed when he received the final piece.
Dad was 89, he water skied until a ripe age of 80 and was a doer and never let the grass grow under him right to the end. His heart just went into heart failure, but he was busy already planning for the next cruise. He made me tired sometimes with his pace.
I was going through some of his files today and found a file for your project and for some reason had to write to just let you know how much pleasure he got from your carving. I came across all the comments others had made on the project, that you’d passed on to Dad.
Cheers and keep up the great work – you are a true artist.
Branch Magazine is a national quarterly online magazine devoted to exploring the rifts and overlaps of visual and literary arts while showcasing emerging and professional Canadian artists and creators. Branch features contemporary literature, art and design and aims to produce a compelling panoply of art in different media. Kudos to founding editors Gillian Sze (Literary Editor) and Rob Huynh (Roberutsu - Visual Arts and Design Editor). Shane's studio if featured in the Artist Workspace section of this Issue.
ARTIST WORKSPACE, Branch Magazine: Private Parts, July 2011
SHANE WILSON "This is my space. A tad dusty. But therein lies the creativity." (Check out Shane's feature interview in our WILD issue.)
Shane Wilson's studio.
ALGONQUIN ART CENTRE BLOG
Interview with Shane Wilson
Interview by Joel Irwin; Web Design by Matt Coles
i) Your works transform natural objects into complex, artistic expressions. Can you explain the influence of the “natural” over your artistic designs?
I carve animal-based natural found objects: skulls, antlers, horns and tusks. These objects inspire me by their inherent beauty and grace. Each one forms a unique, ‘living’ armature upon which I create my abstracted sculptures, giving form to my thoughts and feelings about existence, consciousness, and meaning.
In the case of the bronze ‘Silvi-Skullpture Series, 2011’, which will be displayed at the Algonquin Arts Centre, the ‘natural’ provides a very specific additional influence. It takes ‘Forests’ as its primary theme. The unique (1 of 1) bronzes employ design elements from trees native to Algonquin Park worked into animal skulls, also native to the Park, which symbolize the symbiotic relationship between the forests and much of life on this planet.
Black Bear Birch - Bronze
ii) Is the concept of metamorphosis significant for your works? If so, how?
I delight in taking found skulls, horns, antlers and bones and transforming them into fine art, expressions of the highest order, objects of rare beauty. The process of transformation is documented on my website, www.shanewilson.com, on the ‘In Progress’ page, where the metamorphosis from lichen covered bone to radiantly pure sculpture is revealed in word and image.
iii) The poet Gillian Sze has described a magical and enchanting quality to your work. What, do you think, is the source of such a quality in your pieces?
I confess both surprise and joy at some of the unique reactions to my work. It may be a sign that the works have taken on a life of their own, creating impressions and making connections not foreseen or intended. Like children do, once away from home and out in the world.
Freeman Patterson, the great Canadian photographer, describes a childhood experience during a recent Ideas interview on CBC which may shed some light on this question. Farm life left his family little spare time for niceties, including Christmas. But, according to Sherman, his mother wanted to make the day special, so “she trimmed the Christmas Tree after I and my younger sister went to bed. God knows I don’t think she slept that night, but she would trim it with such magnificence and care that it was sheer magic when we woke up on Christmas morning. We thought Santa Claus had trimmed the tree.”
On Friday June 24, 2011 the Canada Winter Games Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon experienced a fire which caused extensive smoke and water damage throughout the facility. There are several works of art displayed in the facility, including two of mine: "Yukon Seasons, 2003" and "Yukon Torch, 2007". Conservator Valery Monahan and Yukon Art Collection Curator, Garnet Muething inspected the art for damage. Valery sent the following regarding Yukon Seasons and the Yukon Torch:
"I was up at the Canada Games Centre today with Yukon Government Art Curator, Garnet Muething. We made a brief tour/ initial assessment of the damage/impact to the public art from YG’s collection. I thought you should know that your pieces are looking good, when you consider they had a sooty fire put out by overhead sprinklers.
Sprinkler heads close to Yukon Seasons did not activate, because the piece was some distance from the the fire. This means no extreme heat and no water coming from above! The exhibit case did an excellent job of keeping air-born soot away from the sculpture. When Garnet and I looked in, Yukon Seasons looked quite normal: cream-coloured with all the polished surfaces reflecting light nicely back at us. See pictures attached.
We took a look at the Winter Games Yukon Torch as well. This piece is even further from the fire’s location. Airborne soot was really the only potential problem for it, I would say, and the exhibit case appears to have blocked any soot that drifted to that section of the building."
Thanks to all who wrote expressing concern and to Garnet and Val and the staff of the Canada Winter Games Centre for their prompt response.
Here is a sample of John's scrimshaw work and an earlier shot of him working on an antler with a technical pen.
John McFeeters and Shane Wilson in Shane's studio.
A sampling of John's work in scrimshaw.
John demonstrates his work with a technical pen on antler.
Shane travelled to the Algonquin Art Centre in the midst of Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada for the Gala Opening of the 2011 Season.
The three recently completed "Silvi-Skullpture Series" bronze skulls (two black bear skulls and one wolf skull) form part of the United Nations Themed "International Year of Forests" art exhibit at the gallery.
It was a real pleasure to meet the gallery owners, staff, fellow artists and patrons.
The exhibition will be on display until October 16, 2011.
The Algonquin Art Centre is featuring three new works from acclaimed sculptor, Shane Wilson. Shane's work transforms natural materials, such as skulls, antlers, horns and tusks, into complex works of art -- works which express the beautiful designs contained in the natural objects themselves. "These objects inspire me by their inherent beauty and grace," says Shane. "Each one forms a unique, 'living' armature upon which I create my abstracted sculptures, giving form to my thoughts and feelings about existence, consciousness, and meaning."
The featured works for the Centre's 2011 exhibit, "International Year of Forests", explore the inherent relations between forests and wildlife. These bronze carvings are part of Shane's "Skullpture Series" -- a series which includes the cast, carved skulls of bears, wolves, and humans -- and they illustrate the widespread presence of our forests. "These pieces take forests as their primary theme," says Shane. "The unique bronzes employ design elements from trees native to Algonquin Park worked into animal skulls, also native to the Park, which symbolize the symbiotic relationship between forests and much of life on this planet."
Shane is quickly becoming an artist of renown in Canada and abroad. His works not only convey the visionary qualities which have defined our greatest artists, but also express a new and original understanding of art and the natural world -- an understanding of particular importance for today's world, when relations between people and their environments are being redefined, or, to put it in Shane's terms, recast.
For an exclusive interview with Shane Wilson, check out our June E-newsletter (subscribe through our website), or simply check our June Blog entry.
of the Council of the City of Dawson
called for 7:00p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 in the Town of the City of Dawson Council Chambers.
Mayor Peter Jenkins, Councillor Stephen Johnson, Councillor Wayne Potoroka, Councillor Rick Reimer, Councillor
Bill Kendrick (arrived at 7:04PM), CAO Jeff Renaud, Secretary Chelsea Parent
d) Association of Yukon Communities Auction Items
It was proposed that the CAO be granted permission to donate two (2) Mammoth Ivory broaches to the AYC AGM auction.
C11-11-15 Moved by Councillor Potoroka, Seconded by Councillor Johnson that the City of Dawson donate two (2) Mammoth Ivory broaches to the AYC for their AGM auction.
"Dawson City Broaches, 2000" by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory)
Dawson Minutes-C11-11 April 27, 2011
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Branch Magazine is a national quarterly online magazine devoted to exploring the rifts and overlaps of visual and literary arts while showcasing emerging and professional Canadian artists and creators. Branch features contemporary literature, art and design and aims to produce a compelling panoply of art in different media. Kudos to founding editors Gillian Sze (Literary Editor) and Rob Huynh (Roberutsu - Visual Arts and Design Editor). Shane is the Featured Artist in this Issue.
Guest editorial by Alison Strumberger
When Gillian and Rob asked me to guest edit the Wild issue of Branch I was stoked...
It is the Canadian Wild that makes for such a talented bunch of maple syrup-loving, toque-wearing, snowshoe-owning, campfire-building writers and artists, and we are pleased as punch to be showcasing a number of them in this issue...
We are pleased to spotlight returning artist, Shane Wilson, whose intricate sculptures will astound you. We ask him about the ins-and-outs of sculpting and his relationship with his materials...
Thoreau once said, "All good things are wild, and free." We don't like to brag (much), but this issue is pretty darn good. Enjoy, and let your imagination run wild.
FEATURE ARTIST - SHANE WILSON
Q & A WITH SHANE WILSON
If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?
If I were an animal ... well, I am! The thing I treasure about being a human animal is the ability to think deeply about life and to appreciate the deep thoughts of others of my species.
However, if I were to choose to be a different animal, I think I'd choose to be one of the great whales. When I learned that US Naval tracking stations had been recording whale sounds for years, that a Blue Whale, departing from northern waters, can create a sonic pulse illuminating the entire Atlantic Basin and navigate accordingly, I just thought that was an amazingly cool thing and wanted to be one. And it goes without saying that whales think deep thoughts. After all, who can forget that brilliant treatise on existence worked out by the improbably created sperm whale as it plummeted through the atmosphere of an alien planet?
Why did you become an artist?
Like Jonah fleeing the will of God, I pursued a number of proper careers (briefly and with varying degrees of success) before being tossed overboard for the last time and swallowed body and soul by the great art leviathan.
I make art because I must. Yet still I try to avoid the making of it on a daily basis, paradoxically finding peace and well being only in the throes of creation. I like to think of this dynamic as a war between the right and left brain - the left, the everyday practical portion where I spend most of my life, does not want to relinquish control to the right, the mysterious region of creativity where 'the everyday', including time itself, does not exist. Perhaps the struggle finds expression in my art, in the notion of 'Duality'.
Aristotle said that art takes nature as its model. You model nature into art. Do you remember the first time you carved an antler? How did that begin?
Antlers, bones and skulls are natural sculptural wonders. Not just in the sense that wind and weather shape a rock or a tree, but more so. These are shapes that are sculpted and inhabited by Life. When I encountered the amazing antler art of Maureen Morris in 1985, I realized that it was possible to combine my interest in sculptural creation with these living sculptures.
What are you proudest of achieving as an artist?
A good day in the studio.
Some sculptors say that they can see the sculpture in a piece of wood or rock. Is that the case for you?
Sure. But the sculpture seen 'within' the stone is usually drawn from an interaction with the sculptor's own inner catalogue of three dimensional or relief imagery, mentally overlaid or fitted into the stone until a match is achieved, a kind of psychic superimposition. So it's a two way street, a unique interaction between the stone and the sculptor. I especially enjoy the challenge of this process as it applies to antler, skull, horn or tusk.
Your work is so detailed and refined. It must be a very long and painstaking process. Were you always a patient person? Do you think your art taught you to be patient?
When working there is no sense of time, hence no need of patience. Right brain territory. Patience, however, is a gift I strongly encourage in collectors and commissioners of my work.
What inspires you?
Excellence and originality in all its manifestations. I am particularly inspired by great music played live. When the music flows over me, I see a cascading multiplicity of form. Sculptural problems resolve before my 'eyes'.
What are you working on now?
I am currently in the process of creating a large commissioned sculpture featuring the Short Eared Owl, entitled: "Short Eared Parliament." I'm about six months along, with another year to go. While this work progresses (I post photos and comments on my site as I go along) I'll be thinking about my next sculpture, entitled "Integration", which will mark a return to the completely abstract theme of 'Duality', weaving the angles and curves of earlier carvings into a single, unified design. The medium for this work will be a massive moose rack (152 cm wide), discovered atop a rocky Yukon mountainside.
Give us a quote by Delacroix.
In addition to posting work related updates on Twitter, I enjoy sharing pertinent quotes about life and art from artists I have been reading. Delacroix is pure gold:
"The mature artist despises everything that does not lead to a more vital expression of his thought."
A Gillian Sze poem, based on Self Portrait (2009) by Shane Wilson
There are memories we keep in bones:
porous, of wilderness,
fused long since.
What begins as nightmare,
we wake into, learn to weather,
weld deeper into us
so we die with fewer bones
than we’re born with.
Some of us turn into birds
take wing with the benevolence
of a Chinook,
speak with the roundness of grapes.
Others fly out like a flock of gods,
discover genealogies more lupine, more bovine,
become grand blueprints replete with stars.
Black-tipped, cold curvatures,
raw bone, vestigial horns.
An inarticulate clash of anatomies:
part curse, part calamity,
the ferocity of incisors,
and always a soft ache
lodged in old bones.
(Gillian Sze has written this poem in the ekphrastic tradition, where one artistic creation takes as its inspiration an art work in another art form. Gillian has also composed a marvellous book of poetry, entitled, Fish Bones, written in this same ekphrasitc tradition and based on her engagement with artworks housed in a variety of museums. It is available from DC Press. Her latest book, The Anatomy of Clay, will be released in April 2011 by ECW Press.)
(Catherine Kidd has been a formative and respected figure in Montreal’s vibrant cultural scene since the early 90s and has forged a reputation as one of the nation’s most surprising and inspiring voices for page and stage. Kidd’s multimedia collaborations and solo works have toured extensively to poetry, music, and theatre festivals throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, UK, US and Canada. Catherine currently lives in Montreal where she is hard at work on her next solo show: Hyena Subpoena. Her published writing includes two critically-acclaimed collections of poetry Sea Peach (book/cd) and Bipolar Bear (book/dvd), and a novel Missing the Ark.)
Red Deer College - Series Summer School of the Arts Course Catalogue (Detail of 'Male Seahorse' used on the cover and header graphics), Red Deer, Alberta, 2011
Red Deer - Series Summer School of the Arts Course Catalogue - Cover
I was absolutely delighted to receive the 2011 Series Summer School of the Arts Course Catalogue from Red Deer College today. Unbeknownst to me, the designer of this year's catalogue decided to use a slice detail from 'Male Seahorse' on the large cover graphic, which is repeated throughout the catalogue as an attractive header. What an honour!
Red Deer's Series program is truly amazing. Students take from Series real skills which will enable them to make art. A rare thing to be said of any art school these days!
Dennis Walrod's comprehensive book on antlers, appropriately titled Antlers: A Guide to Collecting, Scoring, Mounting, and Carving is now in its Second Edition, published by Stackpole Books in 2010.
Antlers, p. 158 'Antler Art: From Cave Walls to the Internet'
SHANE WILSON (www.shanewilson.com)
Moose antler sculpture
Shane Wilson is a sculptor who [has lived] and worked in the remote central region of Canada's Yukon Territory. He specializes in the carving of antler, tusk, and ancient ivory. He also teaches a summer course in antler carving with rotary tools at Red Deer [College] and other venues. His website includes several step-by-step photographs of the process of sculpting Celtic Confusion, which would be very helpful to beginning carvers.