- “Masks, Prints and Pedestal Art” December 3 to January 30, 2021
- *Focus on Jennifer Angaiak Wood*
- Jeffrey Moose Gallery
- 181 Winslow Way E. (Suite F)
- Bainbridge Island, WA
With the upturn of COVID, galleries and museums, like our restaurants, are back to being stricter with their access. Most are still open, with visiting protocols. The Jeffrey Moose Gallery will be holding a First Friday Opening, as well as being available for gallery visits during the week. The “Masks, Prints and Pedestal Art” exhibition launching this Friday will be showcasing work that is new, with varied emphasis.
An exhibition of prints and sculptural offerings was held in January with artwork by Lilliam Pitt and Jennifer Angaiak Wood. The emphasis was on the renowned senior artist Pitt. The junior artist, Angaiak Wood, returns now as a more seasoned and recognized artist. Since her last show with the Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Angaiak Wood has been awarded both a McMillen Artist Community Fellowship (MAC Fellowship), recognizing emerging and mid-career artists, and a Nia Tero Pacific Northwest Artist Fellowship. The latter award, currently in its first year, is partly in recognition of the difficulties of artists’ lives during this pandemic. It sees “Indigenous Peoples as guardians of their cultures,” and decided to help native artists with professional and personal support. Nia Tero, located in Seattle, is a non-governmental organization with a global outlook.
Angaiak Wood is Yup’ik from Alaska’s central coast region, and has been carving since high school. More recently she moved to Indianola with her family. She has both studied and taken workshops with many renowned carvers and printmakers from Alaska to Washington, mostly through the Universities of Alaska and Washington, and Evergreen State College. She has also learned Northwest Coast Carving and Design from Suquamish’s Duane Pasco and Randi Purser.
As I mentioned in January’s column, she “tries to connect with her Yup’ik heritage and bring a little bit of Yup’ik history into the modern world.” Her masks, for example, are narrative stories from her culture’s history, and some are personalized interpretations. “Breeze” (“Anuqsuar”) is based on a well-known series of “wind” masks. Angaiak Wood’s mask, however, celebrates the “smaller, gentler breezes of the world.” Her “Silver Salmon” (“Qakiiyaq “) is a self portrait of sorts. Based on a favorite mask of a seal with its own inner person (“Yua”) looking out of its mouth. Angaiak Woods gives us her favorite food, salmon, with her inner self looking out.
The size range of her masks run from smallish to large. Her choice of materials is amazing and fun to think about. A running list could begin with: various woods, pigments and dyed shells beads, but branch out to seed and glass beads, ivory, wire, found objects, moose hide, wolf and wolverine fur, beach grass, antler, imitation sinew, crystals and, of course, feathers.
Both Angaiak Wood and Pitt (Warm Springs/Yakama) work sculpturally and two-dimensionally. Visitors will find monoprints, glass, ceramics, and carved wood artworks. Pitt, already internationally known, and Angaiak Wood, rapidly gaining recognition, provide a stimulating show with a great depth of creative narrative storytelling.
Come see what those fellowship jurors, collectors and museums find so compelling. The exhibition will be up for two months. Some of the sale proceeds of Pitt’s work will be donated to the Warm Springs Reservation, where Pitt grew up. This will help with the tribe’s response to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak on the reservation.
Jennifer Angaiak Wood is simultaneously exhibiting at Stonington Gallery in Seattle in the exhibition, “Skyward: A Group Exhibit on the Realms Above,” through January 30, 2021.
Watch this summer 2020 video produced by Stonington Gallery on Jennifer Angaiak Wood:
I must confess a bias toward Northwest Coast Masks and Art in general. I became fascinated with both during summers in the late 1960’s on Lopez Island at a camp that had Bill Holm as its Artist in Residence. Holm was newly made Curator of Education of the Burke Museum at the University of Washington and author of the influential book, Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (1965). I painted an enlarged version of the cover of the book on my bedroom door while in high school. Over the years we watched him carve canoes, totem poles and masks from start to finish. He also gave us the gift of storytelling along the way, and every summer’s end, hosted a Potlatch.