Gigaemi Kukwits

Opening: Saturday, April 6th from 2-5pm
Exhibition: 6 April - 11 May, 2024

CRG is pleased to present recent paintings by Gigaemi Kukwits (b.1945, Coast Salish / Squamish Nations and Kwakwaka'wakw).

"As a painter, Gigaemi has granted himself the freedom to experiment with colour and composition, and to find new resonances between his inherited cultural knowledge and worlds other than his own. For him, the painted line is not fixed in place. He blurs it, he sets it in motion, he uses it to create new spaces in which to travel forward and backward in time, or toward home and beyond the horizon. He's not offering answers to his viewers, but perhaps more of an invitation to join him in looking deeply." - excerpt from an essay by Karen Duffek, Curator of Contemporary Visual Arts and Pacific Northwest at the Museum of Anthropology.

Uniqueness and innovation lie within Kukwits' gesture and palette. His paintings push beyond the traditional Northwest Coast formline. Bold, coastal design elements conventionally rendered and contained within carved works are here transformed into painterly movement via Kukwits' sweeping brushstroke. This fluidity is emphasized by his vibrant colour schemes and the syncopation of both warm and cool tones. While some formal elements of abstraction and modernism are evoked in Kukwits' painting, there is also an underlying fascination with language. In the recurrence of patterns and motifs, Kukwits is interested in the syntax of visual signifiers (glyphs) and how meaning communicates beyond the verbal. Much of his practice forms part of a broader exploration of a vocabulary focused on gesture and form rather than direct language.

Gigaemi Kukwits lives and works in Vancouver, BC. His chiefly name was appointed in a cedar bark ceremony by his uncle Simon Baker and derives from his grandparents of the Musgamakw Dzawada'Enuxw First Nations. At a young age, Kukwits' trained under artists Douglas Cranmer, Mungo Martin and Mathias Joe. In 1966 he spent several months in Europe, stopping in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich, where he visited the Tate, the Louvre, and Rijksmuseum and made work that he sold as he travelled. Upon his return he studied at the Vancouver school of Art (Emily Carr University of Art + Design).

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Ceremonial / Art, Vancouver.