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Doug Cranmer, Untitled painting referred to as River Monster

Doug Cranmer, Untitled painting referred to as River Monster (1975), mahogany, plywood and acrylic paint [Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Mar 17-Sep 3]

Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer

Museum of Anthropology
Vancouver BC – Mar 17-Sep 3, 2012

Doug Cranmer, Mosquito

Doug Cranmer, Mosquito (1987), silkscreen print [Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Mar 17-Sep 3]

Doug Cranmer, Ravens in Nest

Doug Cranmer, Ravens in Nest (2005), print on wood [Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, Mar 17-Sep 3]

Doug Cranmer (1927-2006) was a Kwakwaka’wakw artist known in part for his early adoption of the commercial art market to display and sell Northwest Coast work. Curated by Jennifer Kramer, the Kesu’ retrospective explores the significant impact of Cranmer’s own work and teaching on Northwest Coast art and artists.

A member of the ’Namgis First Nation, Cranmer mentored a number of well-known Northwest Coast artists, including Bruce Alfred and Beau Dick. He taught carving for many years at ’Ksan (Hazelton, BC). In 1962 he helped establish The Talking Stick, a Vancouver gallery.

Cranmer carved five major pieces at Expo ’86, helping to put Northwest Coast art on the international art map. He and his students also assisted with the building of the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, BC, a facility dedicated to the survival of their cultural heritage.

The exhibit shows a wide range of Cranmer’s art in two and three dimensions, from totem poles and a canoe to masks, bentwood boxes, bowls and prints, and his abstract series of paintings on mahogany plywood.

Through his associations with other carvers and artists, his original sense of two-dimensional design expanded to include variations on Tsimshian, Tlingit, Heiltsuk and Haida artistic traditions. He pioneered abstract and non-figurative paintings using Northwest Coast ovoids and U-shapes, and embraced the practice of silk-screening on wood, paper and burlap.

Fittingly, he worked on the Haida houses and totem poles for the Museum of Anthropology for Bill Reid between 1958-1960. Artwork and text by Cranmer’s students are included in the exhibit.


 Thu, Apr 5, 2012