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Down To Earth Art Gallery - Norval Morrisseau Moose Harmony


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Bonnie Brugger

Rocking Water Glass – Fused Glass art created on Cape Breton. Bonnie trained as a graphic artist but found and followed her passion in glass fusing to become a master of this medium.

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Norval Morisseau, Mishipeshu

$12,000.00 Cdn
In stock
Product Details

Original Acrylic on Artists, Board measuring 40 x 32 inches, 43 x 35 including the double Komodo framing. The price includes the framing.

Signed in Syllabics

Mishipeshu - the great water lynx or water serpent

The Provenance of any painting is extremely important, but even more so with Norval Morrisseau originals than some other artists. Down To Earth Art Gallery does their due diligence on every painting that we sell, so we can confidently guarantee the authenticity of each piece.

Norval Morrisseau, (1931 – 2007)

The first living Indigenous artist to have an exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada, “Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist”

Norval Morrisseau is the grandfather of native art in Canada. He is credited with creating the whole Woodland style of art, what almost every aboriginal artist is doing today, started with Norval Morrisseau, he has inspired three generations of First Nations artists. He made it okay to share their culture through their art. Artists like Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, Roy Thomas, Eddy Cobiness, Jackson Beardy, all were then able to make their contributions through their own imagery because of Norval Morrisseau.

Born on the Sandy Point Reserve near Beardmore, Ontario, Morrisseau was raised by his maternal grandparents, Moses Nanakonagos, (Potan), and his wife Veronique.This was a traditional arrangement. As the eldest of seven boys it was expected that he would be the link between his grandparents and his own generation. The tradition benefited both participants. The younger generation was schooled in the cultural conventions of the Anishnabe and the older generation benefited from the young muscles.

Potan was a Midewinini and Jissakan - a shaking tent seer. Morrisseau learned stories, responsibilities and spiritual concepts from his grandfather but in his eighth year was taken away to a Catholic residential school in Fort William. It wasn't a good experience for the child and in the end it resulted in only a 4th grade education. Centuries earlier it was the Catholics themselves through the mouthpiece of their Jesuit brethren , who had declared that if they were given a child for the first eight years of his life they could influence the man forever.

Lucky for us...Potan got there first!

When Norval left school early he started making drawings of the prehistoric rock art and of the images he had been shown by his grandfather on the Medewiwin birch scrolls. The elders told him that this was taboo.

At 19, Norval developed tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium in Fort William. To pass the time he again began drawing the same forbidden images that got him into trouble with the elders a few years previously. A doctor, not knowing of the taboo, encouraged him to paint. At this time Morrisseau had a series of dreams and visions that he said called him to be a shaman-artist. He decided that the cultural images of the Ojibwa could only be made relevant to contemporary minds with a contemporary medium. He began painting in earnest no longer caring about the taboo.

Eventually, with the tuberculosis under control, he moved back to the reserve, and began exploring old canoe routes, paying particular attention to the rock petroglyphs common in the area. It was during this time that he had another dream. In it the manitous came to him, and in a traditional naming ceremony declared him to be Miskwaabik Animiiki, Copper Thunderbird. From that time on, Morrisseau wrote his spirit name in syllabics (taught to him by his wife) on all his paintings.

"My paintings are icons - that is to say, they are images which help focus on spiritual powers, generated by traditional beliefs and wisdom," he said.

Without the artistic elegance, the same features are seen on the Midewiwin birch bark scrolls of rites and song mnemonics. They are also roughly suggested in the rock petroglyphs all over the woodlands north of the Great Lakes.

In the beginning there was no market for Norval Morrisseau's paintings or any other contemporary native artist's work, for that matter. The mainstream art world had always excluded the prehistoric and functional works by native artists, and the anthropology versus art debate continued well into the 1980's. So Norval lived in poverty on his reserve, bartering drawings and paintings for food and other supplies.

Despite all that, the paintings of Norval Morrisseau stormed the Toronto market in 1962.

In the summer of that year Toronto gallery owner, Jackson Pollock, had been teaching painting in northern Ontario. Pressed by friends, Pollock begrudgingly made an effort to visit Morrisseau's home to see the Indian artist he'd been told about. He was stunned by the combination of imagery and colours in Norval's work. Until the artist envisioned the possibility, nothing like it had existed in the world. Pollock arranged a show of Morrisseau's work in Toronto and the artist exploded onto the contemporary art scene on opening day. Every painting sold.

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She draws much inspiration from the ocean view just outside her studio on the rugged shores of Cape Breton. She translates the joy that she feels there into her fabulous glass creations.

Down To Earth Art Gallery - Glass ArtThese, one of a kind, pieces have a wonderful sense of colour and her graphic design background makes exploration and design of geometric shapes an even more dramatic look in her distinctive works.

Bonnie has been juried into numerous exhibits and has displayed in Butchard Gardens (Victoria, B.C.), the Skooke Fine Art Show and has been purchased and enjoyed by people around the world.

As a long- time instructor for creating fused glass she has truly enjoyed introducing new glass artists to this wonderful medium.

Glass fusing has been in existence since around 2000 BC and once cut and laid out, each piece is then typically fired at high temperatures that takes place over a 24 to 36-hour schedule to achieve their final individual unique appearance.

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  • Norval Morrisseau
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  • Leonard Lane
  • Frederick Arthur Verneer
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