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Kevin Paul: Native American Carvings

Scott Milo Gallery
Anacortes, WA Thru May 1

Kevin Paul, Eagle-Chief of the Sky (2002), red cedar [Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, Thru May1]
Kevin Paul of the Swinomish Indian Tribe (outside of LaConner, Washington) learned wood carving at the age 7 and has been carving full-time for the past 15 years. Half Swinomish and half Colville, Paul is one of nine children in his family raised in the Swinomish Tribal Community. He bears the Indian name Wa lee hub, passed down from his grandfather, meaning Helper in the Big House.

Marked by bold flat colours and simplified forms, Paul’s carving style stems from tradition. He learned his techniques from his late uncle, he applies his mastery to create plaques, bowls, masks, architectural carvings, cedar doors, large scale totem poles and appropriately, musical instruments, as he is also a musician. He carves in red and yellow cedar, alder, pine, and cottonwood.

In this exhibition (his first with the Scott Milo Gallery) Paul presents masks and wall plaques such as The Spirit Seeker and a depiction of the Trickster with two ravens. Other works focus on Northwest animals such as the whale. The largest work is an 8-foot totem wall piece with an eagle and bear.

This artist creates with new interpretations while remaining linked to tradition. He is influenced by the Gitksan style of carving, but his work is identified as Coast Salish style. As a traditional artist in a contemporary time, Paul’s process and inspirations have gathered an identity of their own. He creates on the principle that the good thought that goes into his sculptures when he makes them will radiate to his viewers.

© Allyn Cantor

 Mon, Apr 1, 2002