Kenojuak Ashevak, Canada’s most revered Inuit artist, was born at the south Baffin Island camp known as Ikirisaq in the fall of 1927. She grew up travelling from camp to camp on south Baffin and Arctic Quebec. Like many Cape Dorset artists, Kenojuak spent most of her life living on the land in a manner not unlike that of her ancestors. Her imaginative drawings, prints and carvings are sought the world over and reflect her experiences and life in the North. While her imagery is varied, she is best known for her eloquently designed animals and birds, especially the Owl. In 1967, she received the Order of Canada. She passed away in January 2013.
Loons Feeding, 1994
lithograph on arches 88 paper, ed. 50
full bleed: 22.5” x 30.25”
Lithography, or writing on stone is based on the resistance between grease and water. The artist uses drawing and painting materials containing grease on a limestone slab or aluminum plate to create an image. A gum arabic mixture is applied to the composition to securely bond the image to the plate. The surface is then dampened with water which adheres to the non-greasy areas. Ink is applied and only adheres to the greasy sections. Areas covered with water remain blank. The plate is then run through a press under extreme pressure. Lithograph prints are characterized by soft lines and rich textures.
Etching prints are generally linear and often contain fine detail and contours. Lines can vary from smooth to sketchy. An etching is opposite of a woodcut in that the raised portions of an etching remain blank while the crevices hold ink. In pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy or acrylic ground. The artist then draws through the ground with a pointed etching needle. The exposed metal lines are then etched by dipping the plate in a bath of etchant. The etchant “bites” into the exposed metal, leaving behind lines in the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate.
To make a print, the engraved plate is inked all over, then the ink is wiped off the surface, leaving only ink in the engraved lines. The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it). The paper picks up the ink from the engraved lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the printing plate shows much sign of wear.
Spring Vision, 2008
four colour stonecut print, ed. 50
full bleed: 19.5” x 26”
Radiant Owl, 1996
two colour stonecut print, ed. 100
full bleed: 24.5” x 27”