KAROO ASHEVAK, TALOYOAK/SPENCE BAY, E4-196, Spence Bay
BIRD IN NEST WITH EGGS
7.5 ins x 14.5 ins x 6 ins; 19.1 cms x 36.8 cms x 15.2 cms
The shape and smoothness that Ashevak could create from a dense and difficult piece of whalebone will forever fascinate the onlooker. In the art world where “look but don’t touch” is the motto of museums and art galleries, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to physically handle Ashevak’s work. One only has to hold one of his perfect bone eggs in their hand to fully appreciate the sensory appeal of his sculpture.
There are many examples of his birds in collections and exhibitions. This work is almost a prelude to some of his later more exaggerated creations such as plate 18 in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s 1977 exhibition. In the same publication, plate 2 & 3 show similar treatments to the wings and eyes perhaps indicative of a more restrained period for the artist. Ashevak’s first one man show outside of Canada was held at the American Indian Arts Center in New York in 1973, where two of the fifteen works forming this exhibition were of a bird protecting its nest of eggs. The base which serves as the nest of number 14 from the show catalogue is remarkably similar to the one in this lot.