Nature, Wildlife and Other Symbols of the North

The shadow lands of folklore, of mysteries and childhood, emanate from Catherine Deer’s Seeing is Believing, a show wrapped in the cloak of Irish symbolism.

Deer, a long-time Yukon resident, credits her belief in storytelling and thematic illustration as inspiration for her newest art show.

“I want to portray something playful, something symbolic,” she says.

Her show was inspired by a trip to Ireland, where the misty landscapes and emerald hills caught her eye and allowed her to play out the fairy tales of her youth in her mind’s eye.

“Ireland seemed like the perfect setting for how I always believed the stories would be set, and allowed me to create images that express my love of story.”

As with many artists, Deer began young and continued creating, primarily self-taught, ever since.

She has some formal training, but relies on her primal skill tamed through years of experimentation. Her talent is evident, as is her need to grow as an artist.

Deer says she works principally with charcoal and graphite, initially drawn to the medium as a way to drill down to the details and “zero in” on the finer aspects of artistic creation.

Now she laughs, saying graphite can be taken to other extremes: “I’ve done a massive four-foot piece inspired from my childhood growing up in Baker Lake. The sublime landscapes of the North have always allowed me to expand artistically.”

Childhood and the North, nature, wildlife and other symbols echo throughout Deer’s works. She has lived in the Yukon since 1969 and feels, “this is home. I could never imagine living anywhere else.”

It is this longing for the wilds of the Yukon that resonates most in her pieces.

Deer also appreciates patterns; she interplays light and dark, contrast, negative space, and shapes.

She also tries to incorporate her influences in her works, using scale and contrast to evoke strength from symbols and themes.

“I want to capture metaphor and speak through symbols. My work stands for something and you can identify a theme through it,” says Deer. One of her dreams is to become an illustrator, to make her work accessible and pair them with tangible stories and themes.

“Other artists in our supportive community have identified that in my work, and it’s something I would really like to pursue,” says Deer.

Perhaps Seeing is Believing is a step on the road toward her goal of illustration.

With the support of the artist community, Catherine Deer continues to create works in graphite and charcoal, ever appreciative of the inspiring land where she lives.

“Without mentorship of fellow artists here, I would never be able to create what I have,” says Deer.

Her current show has enjoyed great reception at the Copper Moon Gallery, at 3 Glacier Drive, and will run until May 31.

Deer is committed to giving back to the artist community by producing works for the public, and would like to present a show a year, as a way to show her appreciation of the support from the community.

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