08 May 2009

Art of Nicholas Galanin

I can't resist art made with books -- maybe because I have to discard so many. This piece appeals to me on many levels. It uses books (which of course come from trees), it uses Tlingit carving motifs, and the book in question is the Bible. I think it's amazing and I am stunned that it escaped me until now -- this piece was shown in 2006 as part of an exhibit called "What Have We Become"

Galanin's current work is for an exhibit called "The Imaginary Indian" an equally interesting look at the way cultures can be collected, absorbed, and obscured. The pieces each feature Tlingit motifs covered in Victorian wallpaper. The artists statement however, shows yet another side,

The Tlingit art form continues to evolve though purists resist. This conservative shift has left a modern skeletal ruin of ghost like objects which hang on gallery and collection walls, most of which mimic a romantic cultural lifestyle, while shunning current cultural growth. Though this transformation is not entirety negative, it tends to suffocate progress, something needed for cultural survival.

This reminds me of Brian Jungen's sculpted "masks" made from deconstructed and reconstructed Nike shoes. Brilliant, thought-provoking, and something I would love to have in my home.

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