the riel deal

This one was personal. When Calgary artist Judy Anderson created this mask in 2016, she did it in honour of her youngest son, Riel, who, at age 13, believed that hockey was life. “This one brings me the most pride” Anderson called this luminous work, which she rendered from beads, moose hide, a goaltender’s mask and neck-guard, and an otter pelt. Earlier this year it figured in the exhibition Power Play: Hockey in Canadian Contemporary Art mounted by the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario). “This piece was created to honour Riel,” you might have read if you’d been in Windsor to browse the signage, “demonstrate his importance, and make visible the respect he deserved as an Indigenous child who lived, breathed, and ate hockey. No longer a child whose life is dedicated to hockey, Riel has embraced other interests beyond hockey, although he remains a fan of the game —(Go Jets Go).”

cards catalogue

Full Deck: In his ongoing series “Peinture canadienne,” Quebec City artist Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf has been arranging hockey cards to mirror the patterns and tendencies of Canadian abstract painting from the 1940s and ’50s. The installation pictured here was on show earlier this year at the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario) as part of the exhibition Power Play: Hockey in Canadian Contemporary Art. An assortment of some 3000 cards, it pays tribute to the scale and colour and verve of Jean-Paul Riopelle’s work, framing (as visitors to the Windsor show might have read at the show) “the faces of hockey’s past, moments of hyper-masculinity, elaborate styles of facial hair, stereotypical hockey helmet hairstyles, and action-filled facial expressions.” The work, curators proposed, “is both an homage to the history of hockey’s mass production in popular culture as well as a tribute to the speed of the game. Instead of overlapping thick impasto brushstrokes on a canvas, Phaneuf layers hockey cards onto a white wall to resemble the speed and ephemerality of gestural painting.”

 

(Images: Stephen Smith)