Frontrunners panel discussion
Image by Reuben Boulette

Frontrunners Panel Discussion

May 28, 2011 – 2pm to 4pm

As part of the opening events of Frontrunners-Alex Janvier, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art will host a panel discussion about the formation of the Professional Native Indian Artists’ Inc., Urban Shaman Gallery and their seminal roles.  The panelists will be Cathy Mattes (moderator), Louis Ogemah, Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez.

Frontrunners is a multi-exhibition project that recognizes the impact of the Professional Native Indian Artists’ Inc., also known to Winnipeggers as the Indian Group of 7.  Their story, and the context and time in which it happened, is a starting point for discussing the history of artistic and political action within Winnipeg by artists of Aboriginal ancestry.

The exhibition features work by Alex Janvier, Daphne Odjig, Joseph Sanchez, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Eddy Cobiness, Louis Ogemah, Jackie Traverse, Lita Fontaine and Darryl Nepinak.  Plug In ICA will present work by Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez while the work of other artists will be located at Urban Shaman Contemporary Art Gallery.

Cathy Mattes is a curator and writer with an MA in art history from Concordia University (1998). In her curatorial practice Mattes focuses on Aboriginal issues and art, and explores concepts of community and dialogical aesthetics. Examples are: Rockstars & Wannabes (2007, Urban Shaman Gallery), Transcendence – KC Adams  (2006, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba), (Winnipeg Art Gallery), Rielisms (2000, Winnipeg Art Gallery), Blanket(ed), an exhibition and collaborative exchange between Urban Shaman Gallery and Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Co-operative, Sydney Australia (2001), and The Best Man – Riel Benn (2004, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba). Mattes was an active board member of Urban Shaman Gallery for four years, and presently sits on the Gallery’s Arts Advisory Committee. She is also the visual arts editor for the Canadian Journal of Native Studies. Mattes has contributed writings to MAWA (Mentoring Artists For Women’s Art), the Indian Art Centre, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canadian Dimension Magazine, National Museum of the American Indian, Gallery 101, Aboriginal Voices, and Border Crossings. Mattes was the curator at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba between 2003 and 2005, and now continues to focus on contemporary art as a freelance curator and writer. She is the art history lecturer at Brandon University in the Visual and Aboriginal Arts Department, and lives and works out of Sprucewoods, Manitoba.

Alex Janvier (RCA), a Dene Suline and Saulteaux painter from Cold Lake, Alberta received his fine arts education from what is now the Alberta College of Art and has been a full time artist since 1971.  Janvier has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe.  He has executed many public commissions, including the Morning Star, located at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.  Janvier’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Mendel Art Gallery.  Janvier has received the Marion Nicoll Visual Arts Award, the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Order of Canada, and most recently, the Alberta Order of Excellence.  He has also earned two honorary Doctorate of Law degrees.  In 2003, he opened his own gallery in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Joseph Sanchez is a mixed media artist and arts administrator of Taos Pueblo descent living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He works in painting, drawing and performance.  Sanchez has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Mexico.  His work can be found in public and private collections around the globe.  In addition to being one of the founders of the P.N.I.A. inc., Sanchez also co-founded the Moviemento Artistico del Rio Salado (MARS) and the National Association of Artist Organizations (NAAO).  Sanchez has worked with many art galleries and educational institutions, most recently as Chief Curator and Interim Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico.