Carl Beam Exhibition

Yesterday I attended the Carl Beam art exhibition at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery with my third year painting class. The exhibition at the gallery had a wide variety of artwork from Carl Beam.  There were artworks on handmade paper, Plexiglas, canvas, ceramic pieces and even a video of a performance.  There was a lot to observe and learn from Carl Beam. Carl Beam is an aboriginal artist and a lot of his work comments on being an aboriginal, residential schools, colonialism etc. A lot of his artwork is also very political and comments on racism, genocide, scientific discoveries etc. Beam uses lots of symbols from his aboriginal culture like animals and colours from the medicine wheel in most of his works. There were a few artworks that really stood out to me for different reasons.  I enjoyed Burying the Ruler Triptych because it was paint and mixed media on handmade paper.  The first was a dark purple, the second was reddish brown and the third was white.  I appreciated this work because the handmade paper was very large and after making handmade paper this year for a project I appreciate the time and energy that is put into the paper making process. The next work I liked was Membrane. It had black and white photocopy transfers on it and a cool scratching technique on it to add texture. One of the last pieces I really enjoyed was Elders It was a painting mixed with some portraits of different aboriginal elders.  Elders are very important to the aboriginal culture. I thought the artwork was unique for incorporating both drawing and painting.  Carl Beam has a wide variety of work some of his later work adds a lot more photocopy transfers and bright neon colours.  A lot of his work is extremely large as well.  It’s actually breathtaking to see how big some of his pieces are. I was glad I attended the show, it was great to see the detail and texture involved in his work and it was a lot better to see it in person than online.