Spirit Art of the Northwest CoastBook - 1999
Mythic Beings brings together 80 outstanding works by 20 contemporary artists that powerfully interpret Northwest Coast myths and legends. These works include totem poles, argillite sculptures, jewelry in silver and gold, carved and painted boxes, painted drums, and masks. They depict beings of the forest, sea, sky, and spirit worlds: Raven, Thunderbird, Salmon Bringer, Volcano Woman, and many more.
Accompanying each work are a retelling of the myth associated with it and comments from the artist on the myth’s meaning, as well as stories related to the creation of the work.
Gary Wyatt’s introduction discusses the evolution of contemporary Northwest Coast art, touching on major international commissions and exhibitions, and landmark pieces. It also discusses the relevance of myth and legend in contemporary Native society, and the changes and interpretations that have been introduced over the past three decades.
The 75 contemporary works of art (including carvings and sculptures, jewelry, masks, dance regalia, and ceremonial robes) depicted in this book display deep roots in ceremonial and aesthetic traditions. Wyatt, curator at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, B.C., provides an introduction that outlines the place of art in the ceremonial and spiritual lives of the native societies of the Northwest coast, but turns the majority of the book over to lush color photographs and statements by the artists, as well as the legends and stories of the mythic beings from the mortal and spirit worlds which these works represent. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)