Bob Boyer: His Life's Work


About the Exhibition

Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work is the first major retrospective of Bob Boyer, a nationally and internationally renowned artist, art historian, curator and educator. Boyer’s influence is far-reaching and interwoven among the communities of art, education and culture. This touring exhibition and the accompanying publication are a celebration of the art, life and critical contribution of this influential artist. Sixty paintings in diverse media trace his career from 1968 to 2004.

Although he lived his entire life in Saskatchewan, Boyer’s work was inspired by his extensive travels throughout North and Central America, Asia, Europe and Scandinavia. Boyer began his artistic career in the late 1960s, painting highly representational portraits and landscapes. By the late 1970s, he experimented with large-scale abstract oil paintings, using vibrant colours informed by personal experiences and the artistic traditions of Northern Plains Aboriginal people. While Boyer worked in a variety of media throughout his career, he is perhaps best known for his acclaimed series of blanket paintings completed between 1983 and 1995. Using flannel blankets as the painting surface, Boyer combined elements of historical Northern Plains design with personal symbology and contemporary references. For the most part, these "blanket statements" are politically-charged depictions of the devastating impact of colonial imperatives upon Aboriginal philosophies, land, religions and cultures.

During the last decade of his life, Boyer experimented with a variety of media, including fresco, and produced work which celebrated Indigenous experience, cosmology and spirituality throughout the world. While his untimely death in August 2004 leaves an enormous sense of the incompleteness of an abundant life, Bob Boyer’s art leaves a legacy of a life’s work that is fully complete.

Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work is accompanied by a full colour, 256 page catalogue featuring a curatorial essay by Lee-Ann Martin accompanied by essays from guest writers Ted Godwin, Carmen Robertson and Alfred Young Man.

The exhibition Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work is organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work exhibition and programming at the MacKenzie Art Gallery was proudly presented by Casino Regina and has been made possible in part through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.