By Alex Dawkins
Posted in News, on January 16, 2017
It is only within the past twenty years or so that abstraction has become a common occurrence within Northwest Coast Native art. Historically, this art form has been based upon family crest symbols, which are depicted through the use of standardized forms and shapes (often referred to as formline design). U-forms, S-shapes, Tri-negs, and Ovoids come together to create animal figures that are easily identifiable as originating from the west coast of North America. In recent years, Northwest Coast artists have begun to deconstruct this formalised aesthetic system, and to create works based solely upon the elements of this system. People assign different meanings to the emergence of this abstraction: some view it as playful experimentation, and some view it as an act of subversion.
Clint Work has always been intrigued by cropping and the unconventional. His new jewellery pieces reveal this desire to create something new from something established:
Clinton Work's crest is Bear. He apprenticed with Phil Ashbee, and has also worked with many artists in Campbell River and Nanaimo, BC. Clint creates drums, masks, bowls, sculptures, jewellery, and paintings, and works in a variety of media including red cedar, yellow cedar, alder, copper, gold, silver, and acrylic paint. He began creating jewellery in 2005, and has trained under established jeweller Kelvin Thompson. Clint is also well-known for his large Hamat'sa masks, and he does all of his own cedar bark work. From 2010 to 2016, Clint donated a fully carved and painted bentwood box for Lattimer Gallery’s Annual Charity Bentwood Box Event, and drew the highest bid several times. In 2012, Clint was included in the Medium: Painting on Canvas exhibition at Lattimer Gallery, and in 2014, he was included in the Nerman Museum’s Contemporary American Indian Art exhibition in Kansas City, MO.