Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
March 5-June 31, 2014
“Somewhere at the edge of my senses I have known of a passage not walked in many years. I stretched beyond where sight or knowledge could take me. I felt my way towards answers that waited. I discovered new landscapes within”.
"Sky Blanet: Recent Works by Meghann O'Brien" is an intimate exhibition featuring the Raven's Tail-Chilkat combination robe. Completed in Febuary 2014, “Sky Blanket”, or “Cloud Blanket” refers to the Tlingit Raven’s Tail (yeil koowu) garments that were woven with mountain goat wool prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the 18th century. Although rooted in tradition, the exceptionally fine hybrid design conveys the transcendental experience of an artist opening herself to an animal (or plant) as a teacher through a focused concentration that is similar to other meditative practices.
Traditional Haida iconography is distinctive in representing the head in a larger format than the rest of the body. Here the central field is decorated with three single ancestor faces, thereby reinforcing the vital essence of being. They are placed as if floating in space, connected to each other. Their connectedness “represents the sharing of knowledge through art”. Containers of forces of power and energy, the faces emerge from the center of the robe with meaning much greater than themselves. They are a mere skeletons of form in a dual landscape of black and white, positive and negative space, split by the Raven’s Tail lightning pattern of the interface.
The three faces represent Meghann’s microcosm: “the past, present, and future; ancestors, their living descendants, and those yet to be born; three sisters; heaven, earth, human; ocean, earth, sky; my three teachers: Sherri, Kerri, Willie. Lines of the faces are bones of the ancestors, or the skeleton of an art form.”
Meghann objectifies her world through the process of creating artworks reduced to their essence, charged with potency. She enjoys the challenge of exploring the boundaries of both visual perception and technical possibility as she builds her compressed world containing a world within itself.
Curated by Dr. Martine Reid, Director of Content and Research at the Bill Reild Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, and sponsored by Scriba International Art Society.