Roy Thomas (1949-2004)

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

VISION CIRCLE:  THE ART OF ROY THOMAS

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.  

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 on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary Indigenous artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. This retrospective of his artwork is on display from 25 November 2016 to 17 April 2017.

(Photo credit: Kim Griffiths) Click here for more details.

Rita LetendreGallery Gevik congratulates renowned Canadian and International abstract painter, Rita Letendre, on her first major museum retrospective exhibition outside of Québec. Rita Letendre: Fire and Light is now open until September 17, 2017 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This exhibition, which covers Letendre's career from the 1960's to 2000's, is co-curated by Wanda Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik. The retrospective features nearly forty large-scale paintings drawn from major national public and private collections.

Letendre was widely exhibited with the artistic groups, Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens. She has received the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts, the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas, and the Orders of Canada, Ontario and Québec. Click here for more details.