Express Wagon

Ann Beam

January 24th to March 1st 2014

exhibition from January 24th to Marchst 2014

opening Friday January 24th

Exhibition Sponsors

Express Wagon

In Ann Beam’s Neon Raven Art Gallery, in the heart of the M’chigeeng nation on Manitoulin Island, one is welcomed by a majestic piece depicting the Bridal Veil Falls spanning an entire wall of the large room. Titled At the Horse Washing Waterfall (2011), its birch bark and acrylic falls stand in stark contrast with their rocky surroundings made of rough and sombre cedar’s bark.

Ann Beam’s world is strewn with spinning globes, glowing rainbow auras, star-filled skies, horses and caribou standing against backdrops of aurora borealis, contrasting with statement-pieces springing from the artist’s social and environmental preoccupations, such as Earth Incorporating (2010) or Maude Barlow (2011). These pieces, by way of photographic transfer, gather and present press clippings, corporate logos and other icons, true artefacts of our time.

In recent years the artist has taken to working with industrial cardboard, revealing its wavy innards or tearing them out to cover their uneven surfaces with acrylic paint, transforming them into living landscapes. The material’s visual vocabulary, its varied symbols, arrows and instructions, are sometimes included in the artwork, either clarifying its intent or providing ironic commentary.

Many pieces make use of a window that “holds an alternate possibility, a threshold, a space that draws curiosity”. This window is equally present in her creative process. “There is a visionary interspace… prior to thought. It’s a liminal area of image and archetype, where the subtle components appear prior to creation” (1). Sitting at Frank’s last October, talking about Mystery into the Light (2010), she remembers, eyes half-closed, the origins of that particular piece. “In my heart window, the horses were barrelling!”

With a shaman’s sense of abandon, Ann Beam invests herself in giving shape to the visions she harbours, messenger of a world where all is one, a better world made possible if only we open that window within us all.

[1] All quotations are from Ann Beam.

Paulette Gagnon
Sudbury, 2013

Ann Beam artist statement

Ann Beam is a multi-disciplinary artist working in mixed media painting, ceramics and construction using recycled materials. She lives in M’chigeeng, on Manitoulin Island and owns and operates Neon Raven Art Gallery there. She has created a cohesive body of work spanning over thirty years. her works are in many public and private collections, both nationally and internationally.

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