The Colorado State University School of the Arts’ Department of Art is pleased to announce the opening of "Susan Point: A Point in Time," on display from March 26 through April 27 in the Clara Hatton Gallery of the Visual Arts Building.
In this exhibition, Coast Salish artist Susan Point expresses ancestral concepts and contemporary concerns using a variety of media. Visiting curator Peter Macnair will deliver a free, public lecture called "Susan Point: Inspiration, Innovation and Influence" at 5 p.m. April 4 in the Griffin Concert Hall of the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St. Macnair will explore Point’s artistic career and her influence on other artists. A free, public reception for the artist and visiting curator will be held in the Hatton Gallery from 5-7 p.m. April 9.
Susan Point, born in 1952, has lived since birth on the Musqueam First Nation Reservation in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since beginning her artistic career in the early 1980s, Point has produced a significant body of work in the Coast Salish tradition.
Point’s inventiveness, her love of working on a large scale and her innovative vision has led to many prestigious public commissions. She has completed works for the Vancouver International Airport, the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology and the Victoria Convention Centre, and was recently chosen to create a piece of art to be presented to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., as a gift from the government of Canada to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Point’s work has been included in more than 60 group exhibitions and solo shows. In 2000, she received an honorary doctorate of arts degree from the University of Victoria for her contributions to the art world.
Frogs play an important role in Point’s art, and for this exhibition Point uses the frog to draw attention to the critical environmental issues affecting her land and her culture. The voices of frogs have traditionally signaled the beginning of spring at Musqueam, and the decrease in their songs marked the onset of the sacred winter season.
"Encroaching urban development and global warming have dramatically hastened the demise of the local frog population. …Unfortunately, the time when ‘the frogs stop singing’ may no longer anticipate the rebirth of the next year but foreshadow the final end of that chorus," Macnair said. "This is Susan Point’s lament."
Macnair is the former curator of ethnology at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria and a renowned scholar on Northwest Coast Art. He is also co-author of "The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art" and "Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast."
His essay, "Susan Point: Her Place by the River," is included in the monograph on Point, "Susan Point: Coast Salish Artist," published in 2000. In his lecture, Macnair will trace the antecedents of Coast Salish design, Point’s early years as student, then innovator. He will then introduce how, in latter years, Point has influenced other artists while continuing to learn and innovate.
This exhibition and lecture are made possible by the FUNd at Colorado State.
The School of the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of art, dance, music and theater are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. The Hatton Gallery, located in the Visual Arts Building on the Colorado State University campus, is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call (970) 491-1989 or visit http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Art/hg/.