March 12 to May 6, 2004
George Sawchuk, born in 1927 in Kenora Ontario, spent the first 40 years of his life as a logger and labourer before an accident claimed his leg, forcing him to retire. Living in North Vancouver at the time, he came to occupy himself in the woods behind his house making carvings that he would set on stumps, and making alterations to trees which included adding machine parts, mirror fragments and other found objects.
His neighbour, Iain Baxter of N. E. Thing Co., was interested in what Sawchuk was doing and became a strong supporter of the artist, being responsible for at least one of his early exhibitions. Sawchuk's work soon split into two closely related streams, his forest work, which can be seen as site-specific installation, and his portable work. Often related to ideas he explored in his wood, the portables (mixed media sculptures, often incorporating found objects that he typically mounts on a tree-trunk base) became the basis of his Gallery exhibitions and are the focus of this project. Sawchuk is known for producing artwork that blurs the boundaries between folk, conceptual and site-specific installation art. Themes address socio-political issues as well as Canadian (art) history. This exhibition will survey Sawchuk's practice over the last thirty years.
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