On Aug. 22, three shows will be opening at Arts Underground: the Arts in the Park Season Exhibition, a historical show of Yukon erotica and a solo show in the main gallery.
The soloist is Teslin painter Jean Taylor who will present The Many Faces of the Aces, a show of acrylic paintings studying Teslin’s distinctive mountain range in-depth.
These mountains have many names. On an official map, they are called The Dawson Peaks. Their Tlingit name, Tle,Nax T,awei, (pronounced tle knock taway) means “lone sheep mountain.”
But everyone in Teslin calls them “The Three Aces” or just “The Aces.”
Taylor grew up looking at that mountain: “As a child, we would camp beneath it every summer,” she says.
“It’s part of Teslin. It’s impossible to be in Teslin and not be conscious of that mountain.”
So when she applied for her show at Arts Underground, she knew it would be her focus.
Taylor made a point of painting the mountains from all angles: from the north looking from town, from directly across lake and from the south.
In the south end of the lake, Taylor chose a vantage near an old abandoned Tlingit village and graveyard. Besides this, the south end of the lake has seen some colourful history including some fatalities.
These things remained in Taylor’s mind as she worked on this painting. She named it Resting Place to acknowledge what the mountain has seen in that direction.
Taylor has been drawing these mountains for years. She’s been drawing all her life and, in the past seven years, used acrylic paint and pastels to add colour to her studies.
In early September, she will bring a show of paintings depicting Tlingit dancers in their regalia to a Calgary show connected with the Sherwood Park Horse show, so the two shows have kept her hopping since the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik.
Taylor was a little concerned at first to find that her show would be opening at the same time as Yukon Erotica, a show of actors, dance hall girls and ladies of the night in the Hougen Heritage Gallery that shares Arts Underground.
However, once she had talked with the organizers at the MacBride Museum, they were both chuckling.
This is Victorian erotica we’re talking about, a time when a glimpse of ankle turned heads.
Tracey Anderson, customer service and program manager at the museum, recommends people make a point of seeing this show.
“These are unique pictures, not ones that have circulated a lot. It’s a beautiful collection.”
The postcards from the Bill MacBride collection excite Anderson. MacBride, whose collection imparted his name to the museum, came up to the Yukon to promote the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. He fell in love with the Yukon and expressed his love by collecting newspaper articles, photographs and other artifacts.
Once you’ve torn yourself away from the colourful ladies in black and white, you might venture into the Studio One Gallery, where the culmination of the visual artists’ work in Arts in the Park will be on display.
A wide range of art took place in LePage Park this summer. Amy Tessaro worked stained glass in traditional motifs while Lena White stitched traditional, hand-crafted mukluks.
Harreson Tanner created clay portraits of Inuit elders and Nicole Bauberger (ahem, me) began 100 Dresses for June’s Burgeoning Brightness in the park.
Justien Wood and Jason Johnson of the Sundog Carvers program carved wood in traditional First Nations motifs and also demonstrated printmaking.
Rosemary Scanlon, of Montréal, who was back in the Yukon for the summer, depicted the Arts in the Park events in watercolour. (You might recall her wonderful glazed oil portraits in a group show at the Chocolate Claim.)
Mary Hudgin bound books in the park and rogue calligrapher Owen Williams demonstrated mark making and gesture in his distinctive calligraphic practice.
Aaron Skookum and Brian Francis also carved in a traditional First Nations style. Meshell Melvin continued her Yukon Portrait Projects, embroidering faces using her Universal Movement Machine.
Marie-Helene Comeau, back in the Yukon from her studies in Montréal over the winter, painted using mixed media and collage. Lillian Loponen brushed park banners in acrylic paint.
And, finally, Kerry Fletcher showed visitors and Yukoners alike how she makes her Yukon river stone jewellery.
Each of these artists will have at least one piece included in the show curated by Sandra Storey, Arts Underground curator.
Storey is also excited to have some “really unusual” pieces in the gallery from New Zealand. Storey and Shona Firman opened Burning Issues Gallery together in New Zealand. The gallery showed work in ceramic and glass and boasted a viewing platform from which you could watch artists working in these high-temperature materials.
Both have since left that gallery, but Firman was in Canada to take part in an international multi-media collaborative arts camp at Emma Lake in Saskatchewan.
Every two years, artists get together at Emma Lake, bringing in casting, glass and metal kilns, woodworking tools and so on, creating “wild one-off pieces” together.
Arts Underground is dreaming of organizing something of this nature here in the Yukon.
Firman was part of the first one, so she’s helping Arts Underground with laying the groundwork for such an event.
Firman also taught a glass casting workshop while in the Yukon.
You can see her cast glass sculptures in the form of a canoe and Maori-inspired ceremonial knives on display at Arts Underground.
The opening runs from 5 to 8 p.m., Aug. 22.