Collecting Our Thoughts: View 9, by Anong Migwans Beam

Beaverbrook Art GalleryOctober 16, 20160 Comments

View #9 is one of 63 monoprints by Anong Migwans Beam (Canadian, b. 1980) from the suite 63 Views from Mount Dreamers Rock.  Anong Migwans Beam is a contemporary aboriginal multimedia artist living and working in the Manitoulin region of Ontario.  The works in this suite spiritually and colourfully capture Beam’s vision of Mount Dreamers Rock near her home.  Additionally, the title of the suite, calligraphic brushwork and incorporation of Asian printmaker’s ‘seals’ allude to the marvelous travel suites of woodblock prints by Japanese artist Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858), most notably his 36 Views of Mount Fuji and The 53 Stations of the Tokaido.

At their heart, the works in this suite reflect upon the primordial spiritual power of Manitoulin Island, its lakes, waterfalls, mountain and skies. Mount Dreamers Rock is an important local geographical feature near Manitoulin Island in Ontario.  “It is a place near my home with great spiritual significance to the Anishnaabek of Manitoulin and the surrounding area,” Beam points out, and she adds that “it is a place on the top of a mountain where people have been going for millennia to fast and receive spiritual guidance.”  Beam’s works from this series are dreamscapes, far more invention than depiction they revel in the sheer joy of formal exploration of colour and form. 

The creation of this suite was an incredible experience for Anong Beam.  Although she has been active as an artist for over 14 years and has worked with a variety of photographic and printmaking techniques, the creation of 63 View From Mount Dreamers Rock was the first time she had the opportunity to work with Saskatchewan master printmaker Gordan Novak.  In the early 2000s Gordan Novak worked with Anong’s father, Carl Beam, and won a printmaking competition.  Anong notes that she “had always wanted to work with Gordan, and this was the first occasion.  We have gone on to collaborate often, and it is always a great and expanding experience to work with Gordan on a project.”  Printmakers customarily use their skill to make multiple identical copies of an image.  The monoprint process, however, employ all of the printmaker’s tools and technique to create a single unique artwork.  In this suite, they have repeated the use of certain images, transforming them to create 63 related yet thoroughly different works.

Anong Beam has lived, studied, and exhibited across Canada and the United States.  Beam has a burgeoning career as an artist invited to participate in international art residencies and their corresponding resulting exhibitions. In the 14 years as a practicing artist she has already had 6 solo exhibitions and has been included in over 40 group exhibitions at distinguished international public and commercial galleries. Her work was subject of a solo exhibition at Art Gallery of Sudbury accompanied by a catalogue with essay by Tom Smart, who served previously with distinction as the curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Recently, a video documentary called Anong Beam: Life in Painting was produced by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario as a curriculum resource for students.

You can enjoy all 63 monoprints from this series in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s exhibition Anong Migwans Beam: 63 Views from Mount Dreamers Rock which officially opens on October 22, 2016.  Anong Beam will also be visiting the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to give a public presentation about her work and life as an artist on October 22nd at 3 pm; this is a free lecture open to the public.

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