Blog / Tag / "yac permanent collection"

Artwork Wednesday: Laurie Papou

Artwork Wednesday: Laurie Papou

This week's Artwork Wednesday features Laurie Papou's She wished she had been named hope as a reminder, a part of the Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection and currently on display in the Locate exhibition. This work is part of Papou’s Vanity Suite series made up of four life-size figure oil paintings which employ religious and art historical imagery of the Three Graces set amidst the ruins of a west-coast clear-cut.

In these works, Papou choses to the Graces defined through Christianity as, Faith, Hope and Charity. In contrast, according to Greek myth, the Three Graces are the three goddesses of joy, charm and beauty, theological virtues that are divine gifts from God. The graces were rarely treated as individuals, but always together as one entity believed to endow artists and poets with the ability to create beautiful works of art.

The three graces can be seen here (left, foreground) illustrated in Botecelli's "Primavera"

In Vanity Suite, the one male and three female figures are set amidst the ruins of a west-coast clear-cut. The setting they inhabit is one of torment and is meant to draw parallel the reality post fall reality of Eden. Papou creates a landscape of chaos, destruction and confusion while speaking to the persistence of human behaviors within the shifting nature of sexual roles in our society. Here, ‘Hope’ is no longer standing amongst the bounty of nature; rather, she is engaged in the drama of a strip tease. Through her defiant gaze and disrobed blouse, passive voyeurism is obscured and we are taken into her hostile environment. Papou's technique in utilizing the exposed grain within the female figure's flesh furthers the voice of the artist's statement. The juxtaposition between embracing the wood's natural beauty and depicting a decimated forest clearly mirrors the female figure revealing herself while engaging the viewer with a paralyzing gaze. The aggression of which is heightened through her blouse which, on first glance, seemingly takes the form of a rifle by her side.

Clockwise from left: He stood on a plateau and challenged us all, She wished she had been named hope as a reminder, Because faith was not lost in the chaos all around her, she was, and She saw her fallen clothes as a charity, a homage to the missing trees

Artwork Wednesday: Landon Mackenzie

Artwork Wednesday: Landon Mackenzie

The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the opening of Jim Robb’s Yukon and Locate: YAC Collection. The large turnout was a great testament to our community’s support and we could not be more grateful. In honour of the exciting showcase, we will be featuring a different artwork each Wednesday on the YAC Blog. What better way to begin than Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the featured work on Locate exhibition posters, by Landon Mackenzie. This work is a great example of what the YAC permanent collection has to offer in terms of diversity and Canadian art.

Mackenzie was a regular summer resident the Yukon from 1977- 1983, her early work reflects the sum of her northern experience while living in wall tents and exploring areas from Keno City to Beaufort Sea. With the territory as her muse, Mackenzie depicts the harmonious relationship between the theme of local wildlife and motherhood throughout her Cluny series. The series combines her northern inspiration with the name of her first child, Cluny. It was in the Yukon that Mackenzie first learnt she was pregnant and began to confront the notion of becoming a mother.

Amongst bold brushwork, animal motifs are abstracted in a primitive style that compliments the raw colour palette of earthy tones found throughout this piece. The large dark central figure depicts a mother with her crescent back encompassing her feeding young. Cluny II is described as a departure piece that deals with the trauma of labour and new motherhood, using the vocabulary of northern creatures. In addition, Mackenzie chooses to portray solstice through a large golden planetary form that floats amidst a vibrant midnight summer sky that is familiar in the Yukon. The combination of which is very evocative, both in artistry and in magnitude. Cluny II measures 7 x 14 ft. in size, submerging its viewer in Mackenzie’s powerful composition. While the artist had stretched smaller canvases beforehand, in the weeks following the birth of her first child,  Mackenzie decided the size was not large enough to adequately express her experiences and thus used a doubled canvas.

Landon Mackenzie is currently based out of British Columbia, where she teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.  Mackenzie pursued her undergraduate degree at NSCAD (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and masters at Concordia (Montreal, Quebec).

Gallery Intern Gabriella stands next to Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the large-scale work of Landon Mackenzie.


Landon Mackenzie
Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice, 1983
Acrylic on canvas