In the lobby of the Yukon Government Administration Building, just behind the library, you can see this year’s eight new additions to the Yukon Permanent Art Collection.
The collection “belongs to the people of the Yukon,” Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor stressed in her speech at the show’s opening.
The show, entitled Capture, includes painting, photography and sculpture.
Brian Walker’s hammered copper bowl, Directions, is a study in four. Four faces look out of its sides. You can see them from both the outside and by looking inside the vessel.
Along the top rim, four abalone ovals are inlaid at the midpoint of each face. Four opercula shells measure out the arc between each piece of abalone.
Justin Smith has carved the yellow cedar in Between Two Worlds into intricate bird forms as well as flowers.
Reading the curatorial statement, I understand that he’s using Tlingit hummingbird images as well as Athapaskan floral beadwork motifs in his decorative paddle.
The piece also appeared in the Roots show at the Yukon Arts Centre during the summer of 2009.
Jessica Vellenga’s Klondike Bound makes a wide triangular shape in its glass case. If you peek in and under you can see the hoop skirt that gives the antique petticoat its form.
Vellenga has embroidered a list of the clothing items that Annie Hall Strong of the Skagway News recommended for women coming to the Yukon in 1897.
It makes for entertaining reading — including “some sort of gloves for summer wear to protect the hands from mosquitoes.”
In Whiteout, Lillian Loponen has created hard edges among a Keno mine building, twigs in the snow and the white background, bringing the white right up to and slightly over the black paint.
Swirling cloudy semi-transparent washes soften these edges with a unifying swoop. In these washes you can see the years of watercolour painting she brings to her acrylic practice, as well as the years she’s spent fascinated with Yukon winters.
Janet Moore’s time on the river with Paddlers Abreast inspired her acrylic riverscape, Close to the Thirtymile.
She depicts cloud-streaked blue sky behind dry Yukon hills and their reflection in the river. Isolated ovals of green and gold in the streaky blue reflection kept drawing my eye.
Daphne Mennell’s Stormy Wind Wiggle in oil uses shorter, chunkier marks, like the work of Van Gogh.
An orange ground peeks between brushstrokes. The repeated strokes evoke movement in their rhythms.
In Pillar of Light, cracks in the dry tundra lead the eye up a rocky tor. Marten Berkman’s large-scale photograph drips with golds and oranges, set against a sky with little detail and receding round grey hills with just a hint of gold — an effective contrast in form and colour.
As a newcomer to the Yukon, the harvesting of chum salmon as dog food surprised Evelyn Pollock. She felt drawn to the fish, and has given us a new look at them. In Fish, two close-ups bracket the pile of them covering a truck bed.
On the right, we see the bright red gill filaments, looking like little tongues. To the left we look into a salmon’s green eye and see its mad grin. It feels keen to me, like a dog for food, avid.
The digital camera’s narrow range from dark to light is played upon to create a kind of chiaroscuro that simplifies and dramatizes the compositions in these pieces.
In 2009 the government increased its annual funding to the Friends of the Gallery Society to $25,000. The Friends of the Gallery undertake the challenging task of selecting works to be purchased from the hundreds that are submitted each year.
Artists, watch for the Society’s call for submissions this fall.
The Yukon Permanent Art Collection contains about 300 works, which are rotated through public buildings in the Yukon.
Capture will remain on display until the spring rotation of artworks.
It’s yours. Go see it.