The Paul R. Macpherson Woodland Collection of Art.
McMaster University Museum
Curated by Maslak McLeod Gallery.
Largest collection of woodland art in Canada.
The intention of this collection was to begin with the founder of the Woodland School of Art, Norval Morrisseau, then chronologically include as many of the artists who worked under his influence as possible. Which in the end, created not a building or a specific academic direction, but rather a body of Native artists who used what they found in the methodology of Morrisseau's approach to the myths and imagery of the Anishnabe, thus making it their own.
This group includes Morrisseau's brothers-in-law, his companions such as Carl Ray and artists from the North Shore of Lake Superior, who came in contact with Morrisseau and his work due to proximity. Others who were influenced by him include Blake Debassige, Clemence Wescoupe, Jane Ash Poitras, Eddie Cobiness, Daphne Odjig and Roy Thomas. This collection is in no way a complete a list of the important artists of the School, but rather a skeletal selection of artists that can be added to, and further completed as additional art works become available.
Each of the artists included in this collection were influenced to some extent by the original directions formed in the art of Norval Morrisseau. Each took from that essence and progressed with their own artistic sensibility, each developing their own unique style. Today, other Native artists develop through this same initial direction but move the Woodland style to a personal purpose. This embodies the spirit of the Woodland School of Art, an open concept meant to include other influential Woodland Artist.
Few artists have the gift and ability to fulfill the criteria that establishes the reputation of a truly great artist - a creator of masterworks. Certain artists speak for a time in history, some for a place, some for a people. Some are natural and magic technicians, some perfect a new way of seeing - a universal for an entire world. Rare indeed is the artist who does all of these.
Norval Morrisseau speaks for the Ojibway, the Woodland Indian of Canada. He paints their mythological past and their fierce future potential. He paints his people larger than life, spiritually huge. He created a method of depiction that had not previously existed. His imagery comes from the ancient petroglyphs, from pictograph language symbols, from stained glass windows of missionary churches, from the flat and brilliant colours of the brutal North of Canada, and from his own fertile imagination. He speaks in the universal voice of a master painter, for all who will look, investigate and understand. Morrisseau paints masterpieces.
- Curated by Joseph McLeod
Director of Maslak McLeod Gallery
BA McMaster University, 1975
Education, University of Toronto