Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spirit Wrestler's 'Mini-Masterworks IV'

Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Downtown Vancouver is currently displaying their  Mini-Masterworks IV exhibition. The gallery explains that "each Mini-Masterworks exhibition is an eighteen month journey to find rare art works from the Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), First Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast, and Inuit of Alaska and Arctic Canada".

I am fairly ignorant of both Maori and Inuit art, but I do enjoy looking at their Northwest Coast pieces. I also enjoy Spirit Wrestler's Mini-Masterworks shows because I am never tempted to buy anything. While many of the delicate, intricate pieces that they feature are awe-inspiring and completely unique, they are difficult to display and are incredibly impractical. I would much rather purchase a three-foot cedar panel, for example, than a three-inch Catlinite sculpture. Although I am less impressed with this recent outing than shows they have had in the past (what is with all of the frontlets this year?!), I do love a few of the objects.

One of the highlights is Donnie Edenshaw's argillite 'Totem Pole Pendant' (displayed to the left). Measuring just 3 1/4" x 1/4", this piece  displays the proportions and ratios of a full-size cedar pole, and it epitomizes Haida design. I have not been impressed with the work of this young artist in the past, but this is truly a masterwork. Other standout pieces include Jay Simeon's 'Foam Woman' cuff and Isaac Tait's 'Hummingbird Ring Bowl' from 1988. The show is on until April 16th, and all pieces can be viewed on Spirit Wrestler's website.   

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