Col­lect­ing Trends

Inuit Art Quarterly - - COLLECTING GUIDE -

1/ Qual­ity is Key

Our auc­tion clients—new­com­ers as well as sea­soned col­lec­tors—are fo­cus­ing in­creas­ingly on works of qual­ity, rar­ity and unique­ness, which is some­thing that ap­plies even to mod­estly priced pieces. Al­though es­tab­lished col­lec­tors are al­ways look­ing to fill in gaps with choice and un­usual ex­am­ples, sur­pris­ingly, many new col­lec­tors are ze­ro­ing in on those same works right off the bat. We have been see­ing in­creas­ing num­bers of cross­over col­lec­tors of Cana­dian art, who now re­al­ize that both “clas­sic” and more mod­ern works of Inuit art fit quite com­fort­ably with his­toric and con­tem­po­rary art made by south­ern Cana­dian artists, as well as First Na­tions artists. In­ter­est in ex­cep­tional works by es­tab­lished artists and anony­mous masters is at a high point right now. This is par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able in sculp­ture from the 1950s to 1970s— in­clud­ing works by artists such as Johnny Inukpuk, Ka­roo Ashe­vak, John Tik­tak, Andy Miki and Joe Talirunili, to name only a very few—but it is also ap­par­ent with prime ex­am­ples of two-di­men­sional Inuit art. While there is al­ways de­mand for ‘name’ artists, most as­tute col­lec­tors sim­ply want the high­est qual­ity pieces that fit their bud­gets and tastes. I en­cour­age new col­lec­tors to ask ques­tions and to com­pare the works on of­fer with pub­lished ex­am­ples. Look care­fully, do your home­work, ask for ad­vice, de­velop your taste and then trust your in­stincts. Ingo Hes­sel Head of Inuit & First Na­tions Art, Walker’s Fine Art & Es­tate Auc­tions OT­TAWA, ON

2/ Con­cep­tual Work

A big part of my in­ter­est for the gallery and for col­lec­tors is show­ing artists that don’t have a typ­i­cal point of view that leads view­ers to learn some­thing new and fresh. I en­joy works that lead down the path of learn­ing and that’s what Couzyn van Heuvelen’s works did for me. There is a whole his­tory here that hasn’t been told, there is so much pos­si­bil­ity, so much to ex­am­ine and ex­plore. How ex­cit­ing is that? Col­lect­ing the work of artists like Couzyn pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in a field that is con­tin­u­ally grow­ing—art that is mov­ing for­ward. We are be­ing given an op­por­tu­nity to be a part of what will be our fu­ture’s his­tory, to col­lect art with a fu­ture rather than a past per­spec­tive. LaTiesha Faza­kas Owner, Faza­kas Gallery VAN­COU­VER, BC

3/ Mixed-Me­dia Sculp­ture

Inuit art is now in tran­si­tion; nearly all the orig­i­nal, first gen­er­a­tion Inuit artists, col­lec­tors, cu­ra­tors and sup­port­ers have re­tired or passed away. Many of the tra­di­tional Inuit ways of life and val­ues have been re­placed by, or ex­ist along­side, the elec­tronic gad­gets and so­cial me­dia of this new­est gen­er­a­tion. Nat­u­rally, sub­ject mat­ter in art has changed to rep­re­sent new in­ter­pre­ta­tions of liv­ing in Arc­tic com­mu­ni­ties to­day. Con­tem­po­rary Inuit artists ex­press what they see and ex­pe­ri­ence in their ev­ery­day lives, and, like ear­lier gen­er­a­tions, make work about sur­vival, but in a dif­fer­ent con­text. So what makes one sculp­tor more suc­cess­ful than another? To me it is a com­bi­na­tion of artis­tic skill, unique per­spec­tive and a pro­fes­sional work ethic, as well as the abil­ity to act as am­bas­sadors for their art, com­mu­nity, cul­ture and coun­try. Some of the most im­pres­sive artists work­ing to­day are those who uti­lize in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques. Sculp­tors like Michael Massie, Mat­tiusi Iyaituk, Billy Gau­thier and Bart Hanna in­cor­po­rate tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als of ear­lier gen­er­a­tions such as stone, bone or ivory with new me­dia, in­clud­ing glass, wood, plas­tics, a va­ri­ety of me­tals and semi-pre­cious and im­ported stones. I was once told by a lead­ing artist that “what is con­tem­po­rary to­day is tra­di­tional to­mor­row.” These in­no­va­tive art­works will in­spire younger artists to con­tinue evolv­ing in their fu­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Inuit art. Nigel Read­ing Co-Di­rec­tor & Cu­ra­tor, Spirit Wrestler Gallery VAN­COU­VER, BC

4/ Prints

While the ear­li­est stone­cut and sten­cil prints from Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset) still dom­i­nate the sec­ondary mar­ket, another buy­ing trend has re­cently emerged. Prints and draw­ings pro­duced in the last decade or so have now be­gun to ap­pear at auc­tion and are cap­tur­ing strong in­ter­est from col­lec­tors. While we are used to see­ing Keno­juak Ashe­vak’s strik­ing im­ages from the 2000s fetch more than their is­sue price—we are now see­ing this promis­ing trend ex­tend to some of the sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tion artis­tic tal­ents, such as Itee Pootoo­gook, Tim Pit­si­u­lak and Shuvinai Ashoona. What is fu­elling this trend? For more ex­pe­ri­enced col­lec­tors, it may be a sec­ond chance at the prints they missed out on when the works first ap­peared in their favourite gallery. But for younger and newer col­lec­tors, who rep­re­sent much of the ap­petite for these im­ages, these prints rep­re­sent some­thing fresh and ex­cit­ing. In fact, much of the in­ter­est is be­ing drawn from col­lec­tors new to the art form, en­coun­ter­ing these con­tem­po­rary prints when they visit the auc­tion house for one of our other spe­cialty events. These younger buy­ers, from a broader col­lec­tor base, are a promis­ing trend for artists and for the art form. Christa Ouimet Inuit Art Spe­cial­ist, Wadding­ton’s Auc­tion­eers & Ap­prais­ers TORONTO, ON

5/ Pho­tog­ra­phy

For those of us in the South, north­ern im­age mak­ing pro­vides an im­por­tant point of ac­cess to not only Arc­tic land­scapes, but also the peo­ple, cul­tures and com­mu­ni­ties that in­habit those lands. Be­yond pro­vid­ing a doc­u­men­tary view, pho­tog­ra­phy and lens­based me­dia oc­cupy an im­por­tant space in the mi­lieu of con­tem­po­rary Inuit art pro­duc­tion—one that shouldn’t be over­shad­owed by the im­por­tant and en­dur­ing legacy of graphic arts and sculp­ture. Pho­to­graphic prac­tices are long es­tab­lished in the North and are more emer­gent amidst ur­ban Inuit com­mu­ni­ties in the South. As such, this is a piv­otal mo­ment for in­sti­tu­tional and pri­vate col­lec­tors to rec­og­nize the va­ri­ety and breadth of Inuit pho­to­graphic cul­ture, to sup­port these artists and to give our fo­cused at­ten­tion to their work. Alana Traf­i­cante Act­ing Cu­ra­tor of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Art Gallery of Hamil­ton HAMIL­TON, ON

6/ Ceram­ics

Our col­lect­ing is fairly di­verse, and we pur­chase work that we love and that ex­cites us. The Earth­lings (2017) ex­hi­bi­tion at Esker Foun­da­tion was an im­pact­ful in­tro­duc­tion to the ex­traor­di­nary ce­ramic works that have been and con­tinue to be pro­duced in Kangiqliniq (Rankin In­let). Be­ing able to spend time with such a vol­ume of these in­cred­i­ble works to­gether in one place was an in­flu­en­tial and com­pelling ex­pe­ri­ence. The works stand out for their strong sense of nar­ra­tive that is rooted in con­tem­po­rary ex­pe­ri­ence and is also strongly con­nected to the in­di­vid­ual his­tory of the artists and their com­mu­nity. Jim Hill Chair, Esker Foun­da­tion CAL­GARY, AB

7/ Ki­valliq Sculp­ture

Stone carv­ing from the Ki­valliq re­gion re­mains in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar among col­lec­tors. Be­gin­ning in the 1960s, artists from the re­gion cre­ated highly styl­ized and of­ten ab­stract work due to the hard lo­cal basalt stone. The rel­a­tive iso­la­tion of the com­mu­ni­ties of Arviat, Qa­mani’tuaq (Baker Lake) and Kangiqliniq (Rankin In­let) also ap­pears to be a de­ter­mi­nant in the aus­tere art of the re­gion. Artists such as John Kavik, Andy Miki, John Pang­nark, Miriam Mare­alik Qiyuk, John Tik­tak and Lucy Tasseor Tutswee­tok each de­vel­oped dis­tinc­tive styles, and their work con­tin­ues to be cov­eted by both new and es­tab­lished col­lec­tors. Though older works com­mand high prices on the sec­ondary mar­ket, re­cent works by Ki­valliq artists such as Toona Iquliq, Lucy Tikiq Tun­guak, Mary Tut­suituk, Ge­orge Ar­look and many oth­ers re­main af­ford­able. Whether the fo­cus or sim­ply an ac­cent, works from the Ki­valliq re­gion be­long in every col­lec­tion! Maryse Sa­raux Di­rec­tor, Art Inuit Paris PARIS, FRANCE

8/ Oil Stick Draw­ings

Al­though there has been a strong fo­cus on graphic works com­ing out of Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset) for the last ten years, large oil stick draw­ings from Pan­niq­tuuq (Pang­nir­tung) and Qa­mani’tuaq (Baker Lake) have gar­nered cap­tive au­di­ences and ded­i­cated col­lec­tors. Through the gallery, we have un­der­taken projects with Pan­niq­tuuq-based elder Elis­apee Ishu­lu­taq and Qa­mani’tuaq artist Tony An­guhal­luq. Both en­joy ex­per­i­ment­ing with oil stick and have taken to work­ing on im­pres­sive scales, which the medium helps to fa­cil­i­tate. These mu­seum-scale pieces have the im­pact of a paint­ing, with a cul­tural con­text that is dis­tinctly Inuit. As a re­sult, they are pop­u­lar with a wide range of col­lec­tors, who are seek­ing dy­namic and ma­te­ri­ally rich ob­jects for their spa­ces. I would en­cour­age peo­ple to look not only at the for­mi­da­ble tal­ent com­ing out of Kin­ngait, but also to try and find ways that al­low artists from other com­mu­ni­ties to come to the fore. The tal­ent is cer­tainly out there. Robert Kar­dosh Owner/Cu­ra­tor, Mar­ion Scott Gallery VAN­COU­VER, BC

9/ Con­tem­po­rary Inuit Draw­ing

In the last 15 years, the most in­no­va­tive cen­tre of draw­ing in Canada has been a small stu­dio lo­cated on Qik­iq­taaluk (Baf­fin Is­land). Since 2001, Kin­ngait Stu­dios has been home to artists whose in­di­vid­ual styles and sub­ject mat­ter have earned them na­tional and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as some of the finest Cana­dian graphic artists. This de­vel­op­ment in Inuit art has been re­mark­able be­cause, un­til 2001, draw­ings were tied to print­mak­ing and were sel­dom con­sid­ered to be fin­ished works them­selves. Fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple of young artist An­nie Pootoo­gook, a group broke from tra­di­tion to find to­tal free­dom in ex­pres­sion and sub­ject mat­ter. Some of the orig­i­nal artists, such as Ju­tai Toonoo, Itee Pootoo­gook and Tim Pit­si­u­lak, have since passed away, but new artists, such as Saimaiyu Ake­suk and Pad­loo Sa­mayualie, are join­ing se­nior artists, like Shuvinai Ashoona and Ningiukulu Teevee, in cre­at­ing orig­i­nal, dy­namic draw­ings. As Kin­ngait Stu­dios con­tin­ues to nur­ture and sup­port the draw­ing pro­gram, the suc­cess of the first 15 years will no doubt be car­ried into the fu­ture. Pa­tri­cia Fe­he­ley Di­rec­tor, Fe­he­ley Fine Arts TORONTO, ON

01 Joe Talirunili Mi­gra­tion Boat c. 1965–66 Grey stone, antler, wood, ivory, seal­skin and thread 22.9 × 36.8 × 11.4 cm COUR­TESY WALKER’S FINE ART & ES­TATE AUC­TIONS

02 Couzyn van Heuvelen Avataq 2016 Screen printed My­lar, rib­bon, alu­minum and he­lium 91.4 × 76.2 × 40.6 cm COUR­TESY FAZA­KAS GALLERY

04 Itee Pootoo­gook Floe Edge, Win­ter 2009 Seri­graph 36.8 × 104.8 cm COUR­TESY WADDING­TON’S AUC­TION­EERS & AP­PRAIS­ERS

03 Bart Hanna Trans­form­ing Shaman 2016 Mar­ble with steatite in­lay 78.7 × 66 × 50.8 cm COUR­TESY SPIRIT WRESTLER GALLERY

01 Niore Iqalukjuak Down by Si­naa­si­urvik 2017 Dig­i­tal pho­to­graph COUR­TESY THE ARTIST

02 Andy Miki An­i­mal c. 1975 Stone 16.5 × 5.1 × 12.7 cm PHOTO JOHN MAC­DON­ALD/WADDING­TON’S AUC­TION­EERS & AP­PRAIS­ERS

05 Elis­apee Ishu­lu­taq Un­ti­tled (Chil­dren Play­ing a Game) 2016 Oil stick on paper 57.2 × 76.2 cm COUR­TESY MAR­ION SCOTT GALLERY

04 Shuvinai Ashoona One Mil­lion Dol­lar Burger and Fries 2017 Coloured pen­cil and ink 128.3 × 137.2 cm COUR­TESY FE­HE­LEY FINE ARTS

03 John Kurok Heaven on Geese 2016 Smoke-fired porce­lain 21 × 17 × 11 cm PHOTO SHARY BOYLE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.