Over the past 20 years, Davidson has challenged notions about Haida art as conforming to a specific visual language. The exhibition brings together a body of work, dating from 1982 to 2004, through which he moves beyond formline and crest to explore new visual strategies in Haida abstraction that exceed the conventionalized set of referrents. Davidsons work is shown together with such historical objects as painted bentwood boxes and a painted canoe paddle. It challenges visitors to go beyond what we can recognize.
Davidson has been described as the consummate Northwest Coast native artist but, in fact, should be described as the consummate artist. Whether he is working with gold, wood, argillite or paper, his technical perfection is astounding. Robert Davidson received the Order of Canada in 1997 for his contributions to Haida culture.
The Abstract Edge is curated by Karen Duffek at the Museum of Anthropology and accompanied by a 64-page illustrated catalogue with essays by Duffek and guest writer Robert Houle. The National Gallery of Canada will circulate this exhibition.