Thursday, December 25, 2014

Artist - Gerald Kuehl

Grandmother Elder

My educational studies of film, photography, and graphite pencil drawings in particular, I have long had a passion for the elemental power of the black and white image. It was once explained to me in art school that reducing an image down to the basics of black and white, enables the viewer to focus, and engage more with the image. One's perception is not diverted but the busyness of extraneous colour. This made a lot of sense to me.

In the 80s I left behind my life in Nova Scotia, and traveled to Yellowknife, and Fort Smith, North West Territories where I lived for a period of three years. Upon losing my young husband, suddenly and tragically to diabetes and drug induced paranoid schizophrenia at 26 years of age, I took what is commonly called in the rooms of A.A., 'the geographical cure' and headed North.

My late husband Bill was Metis, on his mother's side. Unfortunately he knew very little about his heritage for a number of reasons. I'm certain, and have no doubt, if he was alive today, he would have had a very proactive and  deep desire to connect with his Metis roots. Thirty five years ago, it was a very different time for First Nations people.

While in the North, I became very interested in the people of the North, and who they were. When I returned to Nova Scotia I remarried, and I then began to produce portraiture from photographs, of the Dene, drawings rendered in graphite pencil. Portraiture had always been my passion from a young age, and s continued into my adulthood as an artist, though I have expanded my subject matter over the years, but my work still narrative in nature.

With Christmas, come cards in the mail. Last week, I received a card from a dear childhood friend. On the cover of the card, was a pencil portrait of Pelagie Polvak, an Inuit Grey Nun, born in Arviat in 1931. This beautiful portrait was rendered by an amazing artist, I knew nothing about until receiving this card from my friend. I was pretty excited, and am happy to be able to share with you the art work of Gerald Kuehl.

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