Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work

20 September 2009 – 18 January 2009

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 
will be accompanied by a full colour, 248 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 will be shown at several venues across Canada and will be accessible to all Canadians, both during and after the tour, via the web, as part of the Virtual Museum of Canada. The Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work Online Exhibition is to be launched online June 2009 through June 2014 and will reinforce, complement and extend the national touring exhibition.

The exhibition Bob Boyer: His Life’s Work is organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This project is proudly presented by Casino Regina and has been made possible in part through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage / Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce à une contribution du Programme d’aide aux musées du ministère du Patrimoine canadien.CBC Saskatchewan is the media partner for this exhibition.

Special for Teachers this Fall 2008!
Pilot the Education Resource for Bob Boyer: His Life's Work! Download the draft version here


Bob Boyer
The Mountain, the Night and the 49, 1988
oil and beeswax over acrylic on canvas
213.2 x 304.7 cm
Collection of Phillip Gevik, Toronto