As I mentioned some days ago in my Morning Star post from the Museum of History, Alex Janvier is a Dene Suline and Saulteaux descended artist from Cold Lake, Alberta, one of the commonly referred Indian Group Of Seven. These were artists who exhibited together for some years, and continued friendships even after the formal disbanding of the group. Mr. Janvier painted Morning Star in 1993, which can be glimpsed in a projected form to the right in this first shot. His style is abstract and modern, weaving together First Nations culture and concerns with Western influences. For over a decade from 1966- 1977, he incorporated his treaty number, 287, with his signature on art as a protest against the treatment of First Nations people. He's still active today from his studios in Cold Lake, and his work is now the subject of a major retrospective at the National Gallery, until mid-April.
The canvases found within vary in shape, from circles to squares and rectangles, and offer up bright, vibrant colours in abstract and representational forms. His use of the circle is perhaps most obvious in Morning Star, which I appreciated seeing in a video form in a different setting.
Mr. Janvier is a product of the residential school system, but officials there early on recognized his artistic skill and encouraged it; his formal education in art took place in Calgary. These early canvases show a mix of influences- his cultural background and the religious emphasis of residential schools.
This particular work, which I did note the name of, is an acrylic from 1966, Eternal Struggle, part of a commission of his work at that time from the federal department of Indigenous And Northern Affairs Canada.
These three caught my eye. There were 150 of his works on display here, so I'll have to go back before the exhibit wraps up. Usually with modern art, whether or not the art speaks to me often depends on the particular work, but his vibrant style with rich colours really appeals to me.
For today I finish with this work, with its explanation preceding it. I have more from this exhibit tomorrow.