Artwork by Alex Simeon Janvier,  #26 Amerindian Time Capsule (Super Natural Series)

Alex Janvier
#26 Amerindian Time Capsule (Super Natural Series)

signed and dated 1990 lower right; titled on the reverse
22.5 x 30 ins ( 57.2 x 76.2 cms ) ( sheet )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $9,600.00
Sale date: June 9th 2021

Wallace Galleries, Calgary
Private Collection, Calgary
Greg Hill, Lee-Ann Martin and Chris Dueker, Alex Janvier, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2016, pages 12, 18 and 23
One of Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous artists, Alex Janvier leaves an indelible mark on Canadian art history. Living on Cold Lake First Nation territory for the majority of his life, Janvier has an intimate relationship with the land as its custodian and advocate. In the creation of his artworks, Janvier draws upon his traditional Dene cultural views, merging Indigenous and Western visual languages.

Janvier’s distinctive swirling tendrils of colour in “#26 Amerindian Time Capsule” twist and drift over the surface, segregating bands of bright colours with smoke-like movement. As the inset rider and horse float above the mountain range, red ribbons of colour move aerodynamically over the forms, visually communicating the spiritual connection of man, animal and land to creation.

Curator Lee-Ann Martin explains that the socio-political issues of the Oka Crisis and Primrose Lake land claim hearings of the 1990s deeply impacted Janvier. Martin writes: “Janvier’s paintings took a sharp turn toward representation. It was an especially active period of resistance on the part of Indigenous protectors of Land and resources to stand up against oppression. It coincides with the development of Janvier’s ideas of landlordship and the need to communicate these values and the historical misdoings of the dominating society.” In this painting, the idea of landlordship is acutely expressed. The rider takes the form of the overseer of the land in a custodian capacity, reflecting Indigenous teachings and views on human interaction with nature.

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Alex Simeon Janvier
(1935) RCA, Order of Canada

Born on Le Goff Reserve, Alberta, his talent was discovered by Reverend Father Bernet-Rolande at the Blue Quill Residential School. He later studied at the Southern Alberta College of Art, Calgary, under Illingworth Kerr, Stanford Perrot, Kenneth Sturdy, Ronald Spickett, Marion Nicoll, Robert Oldrich, W. Drohan and Stanford Blogett. Janvier won many awards during his study at the College and received a four year diploma in Fine Art and Craft. Afterwards, he taught art with the Extension Department of the University of Alberta at Edmonton; also at the Edmonton Art Gallery; Edmonton City Recreation Department (two years). His work entitled “Out Lady of Teepee” was chosen to represent Canadian Native Painting in the Vatican in 1950.

Averaging 8- at college, he still could not find anyone who would hire him in his chosen field and even had trouble finding a hotel room in which to stay during his job hunting in the city. Finally, he decided to return to the Reserve and raise cattle with his brother. But in 1964 through the assistance of a friend, he held his first one man show at the Jacox Gallery in Edmonton. Dorothy Bamhouse, “Edmonton Journal” art critis, noted of this show, “The cleanly patterned watercolours do not lean on the cliche symbolism of most Native art. Rather, they achieve a kind of 'nature mysticism” through simplification and near-abstraction of organic forms...colour plays a minor role. Sometimes it is limited to monochrome or earth colours or primaries subdued and steadied with black and brown. Occasionally, brilliant reds, yellows, blues, attain fluorescent proportions, as in 'City Lights'”.

By 1966, Janvier was working for the Department of Indian Affairs, as an arts and craft consultant, travelling throughout Alberta looking for promising talent and generally encouraging Indigenous People with artistic potential and arranging exhibitions of their works.

As a member of the commonly referred to “Indian Group of Seven”, Janvier is one of the significant pioneering Aboriginal artists in Canada, and as such has influenced many generations of aboriginal artists. Janvier was selected to represent Canada in a Canadian/Chinese Cultural Exchange in 1985 and at the Canadian Forum on Cultural Enterprise, in Paris, France, in 2004. He has completed several murals nationally, including “Morning Star” on the dome of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Alex Janvier recently received three prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, The Tribal Chiefs Institute, and Cold Lake First Nations. He is represented in a number of public and private collections.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977