Alex Janvier, paper ed
Alex Janvier is the 2016 major retrospective monograph celebrating a lifetime of creativity and knowledge gained through the artist’s love of the land, art and First Nation culture. Essays by scholars (Lee-Ann Martin, Chris Dueker, and Greg A. Hill) and admirers offer original research and personal insight into Janvier’s imposing artistic and social stature. Alex Janvier was born in 1935 at Cold Lake First Nations, Alberta, and is of Dene Suline and Saulteaux (Ojibwe) ancestry. At the age of eight he was taken from his family and sent to Indian Residential School. Unlike most First Nation artists of his time, he received formal art training and in 1960 graduated with honours from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Art (now the Alberta College of Art and Design). He was then hired as a cultural adviser to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs where, in 1965, he helped establish policy for the Cultural Affairs Program. He was subsequently appointed to the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67, to which he contributed several murals. In the early 1970s, along with Daphne Odjig and Norval Morrisseau, he helped form the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation, more commonly referred to as “The Indian Group of Seven”, one of the country’s first Aboriginal artists’ collectives and cultural advocacy groups. Alex Janvier has received numerous honours, including two Lifetime Achievement awards, from the Tribal Chiefs Institute, Cold Lake First Nations (2001) and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (2002), the Order of Canada (2007), and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2008). Janvier’s work has been exhibited across the country at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Glenbow Museum, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and were featured in The National Gallery of Canada’s seminal 1992 exhibition Land Spirit Power. Alex Janvier lives and works in Cold Lake, Alberta. Alex Janvier has maintained a 50-year artistic practice that fuses First Nation traditions with modernist abstraction. Influenced by Kandinsky and Klee, his murals and works on paper, canvas and linen explore the Dene cultural landscape of his northern Alberta home with a combination of First Nation iconography and contemporary realities within a personal aesthetic that is universal in reach: his works reference an ancient past, recent Indigenous history, and his own experience of colonization. Janvier’s synthesis of pictorialism and abstraction embodies a conceptual and formal aesthetic that has not been widely recognized in the work of first generation First Nation modernists. His original style, his influence on generations of artists, and his role in shifting the perception of First Nation art from a craft to fine arts status have made Alex Janvier one of the country’s most important artists working today. The catalogue includes 100 colour images, a chronology of the life and work of the artist including family photographs, references, list of works, and exhibitions.