Carl Beam: Critical Beginnings
Frances K. Smith Gallery

Season Launch: Thursday 24 September, 5-7 pm

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Alicia Boutilier, Norman Vorano

This exhibition of watercolours, experimental screen-printing and painted earthenware highlights a formative period in the career of Carl Beam (M’Chigeeng ON 1943–M’Chigeeng ON 2005), one of Canada’s most innovative Aboriginal artists. In the late 1970s, Beam moved away from the aesthetic pursuits of colour-field painting and became unapologetically political, boldly asserting an Indigenous perspective on colonial history through his exploration of powerful photo-imagery, shamanic and natural iconography, and contemporary multimedia practices. During this critical transition from a Modernist to a Postmodern artistic practice, Beam found the unalloyed support of Lance and Jane Bisch, who collected and displayed the artist’s work in their Sault Ste-Marie home and restaurant. This small selection of works, generously donated to the Agnes by Jane Bisch in memory of her late husband Lance, offers a glimpse of Beam’s development—a shift that sparked a new and more politically engaged chapter of Indigenous arts across the Americas.

Critical Beginnings is curated by Alicia Boutilier, Curator of Canadian Historical Art, and Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art.

Image Credits

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