Cranmer + Gray: A dual artist exhibition 2012
Opens Saturday, June 23, 2012
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Coastal Peoples Gallery is pleased to present Kevin Cranmer + Philip Gray, a dual artist exhibition celebrating a diverse and rich cultural heritage influenced by present day views and yet still immersed in tradition.
Over the last 15 years, Coastal Peoples has taken the initiative to source, represent and balance its significantly diverse collection by representing the artworks of new generation artists.
When the Gallery discovers these new artists, who devote their time to preserving their cultural heritage, it’s striking how they can progress within a relatively short timeframe. The result is authentic, contemporary representations that give voice to traditional values thereby revealing historic legends passed from generation to generation. Their visual narrative represents traditions in the present and it will inevitably influence the perspectives of the future.
As Kevin Cranmer and Philip Gray continue to embody this sentiment, they strongly impact their own communities by forming coalitions with galleries and museums in an effort to preserve traditional storytelling. Although these two artists originate from distinct and diverse First Nations cultural groups, there is no separation between them. In fact, they are united as idiosyncratic messengers; communicating ancient mythologies that epitomize either lineage connections or teach important lessons through storytelling.
With great passion and conviction, Cranmer and Gray create insightful themes relating to their deep cultural roots. This is exemplified by Philip Gray’s Gunstock War Club which characterizes his Cree heritage since it was an object once used during historic battles. Today, it teaches us that past conflicts are able to pave the way for peaceful roads into the future.
Despite their work being vastly different in style, aesthetic and form line; they do share a common direction – one that celebrates and reveals the progression of First Nations art regardless of whether it is derived from the southern or northern coastline.
Kevin Cranmer is of Kwakwaka’wakw descent, an artistic style that flourishes from bold images, intense pigments and a rich ceremonial culture demonstrating both realistic and supernatural ideologies.
Philip Gray descends from two cultural groups, the Tsimshian from northern British Columbia and the Cree originating for the central plains of Canada. The dual nature of these influences is reflected in the understanding of how his heritage contributes to his growth as an artist, and how it essentially has formed the direction and diversity of his artwork.
Coastal Peoples Gallery applauds these artists and their dedication to creating a highly refined collection of works for Cranmer + Gray, which reflects their footprint as prominent artists of the Pacific Northwest Coast.