Roy Thomas (1949-2004)

Vision Circle: The Art of Roy Thomas: A Retrospective Exhibition


Widely considered one of the most influential Aboriginal artists in Canada, Roy Thomas (1949-2004)was heavily influenced by his grandmother who taught him about the Ahnisnabae culture through her captivating stories.  Thomas quickly took up drawing at his grandparents’ encouragement in order to bring these stories to life.  He began by scrawling invisibly on his grandmother’s back as she spoke but soon took up inks and acrylics and produced visual legends of dazzling colour.  Inspired also by the ancient pictographs in the Northwestern region of Ontario, Thomas’s work depicts his interpretation of the Life Spirits (Air, Land, Water and Fire.)

Thomas began his career as a prolific member of the Woodland School of Art in the late 1960s under such luminaries as Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray and Norval Morrisseau.  Soon after he joined the group it was clear that his intuitive sense of colour indicated a confident talent was ready to emerge.  Thomas regarded his inclusion in the Woodland School with great pride - his great large scale 1984 painting We’re All in the Same Boat, currently part of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s retrospective of Thomas’s work, depicts his idols Morrisseau, Odjig, Carl Ray, Joshim Kakegamic, Blake Debassige (in addition to himself) together in one canoe - young and old, masters and apprentices, all contributing to one grand, life-affirming work of art.

Despite some distressing early years spent in a residency school, Thomas drew inspiration and strength from his mentors and, most importantly, his grandmother whose spirit Thomas insisted was with him while he painted.  He honored her throughout his life by signing his works with a small crow, the Ahnisnabae name she had given him.

Thomas’s life and work are paid great tribute in Vision Circle: The Art of Roy Thomas - A Retrospective, currently on display at the Thunder Bay Art gallery until September 9, 2012.  

Note: sold indicates the piece has been sold.

Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now open at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 21st, 2018. Afterwards, it will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

This exhibition was recently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. (Photo credit: Kim Griffiths)

Rita Letendre

It is with profound sadness that Gallery Gevik announces the passing of our dear friend Rita Letendre, one of Canada’s most renowned, trailblazing artists. She passed away on November 20, 2021 after a long illness. She was 93 years old.