KESU: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer


KESU: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer

JENNIFER KRAMER, G. CRANMER    Book Number: 86971    Product format: Paperback

Kesu - meaning 'wealth being carved' - was the name given to Doug Cranmer, a whittler and doodler who embodied 'indigenous modern' art long before the term was coined. His art is energetic, colourful and flamboyant, outlined in black and often using primary colour to decorate eagles and bears, killer whales and sea bears, crooked-beak cannibal bird masks, canoes and totems of Thunderbirds and Ravens. He was one of the first Native artists in British Columbia to own his own gallery and a long-time teacher who inspired generations of young Native artists in Alert Bay and beyond. This is a stunning book including photographs of the artist's life and his work in technicolour detail, as well as 50 interviews and testaments which Kramer has edited together in this tribute. Within this collection, stunning images of Cranmer's work include a bear wall-hanging from 1963, a raven print from 1964, and a lathe-turned bowl carved with the design of an anatomically correct man from 1983. You can also explore photographs of the artist with the work such as Doug carving the Wasco (Haida sea wolf) sculpture at the University of British Columbia in 1961, presenting an eagle carving to Canadian Pacific Airlines in 1966, and numerous images of him with his daughter Betsy playing in Deep Cove in 1967. It is a pure joy to admire the inventiveness of Cranmer who pioneered abstract and non-figurative paintings through the application of Northwest Coast ovoids and U-shapes, embracing the practice of silk-screening on wood, paper and burlap as well as using adapted power tools for his art. Marvel at his articulated bear mask with eyes and mouth shown open, carved while teaching at 'Ksan ajd and inspired by the Git'xsan style in 1971, and marvel at the artistry that created the painting Killer Whales in 1976, made from mahogany, plywood and acrylic, the dorsal fin of killer whales creating motion within the painting. The book provides insight into the life of a man who was a chief and leader, a critic, fisherman, logger, inventor and entrepreneur, teacher, builder, husband and father. The collection shares a range of anecdotes attached to these photographs, such as the first mosquito on a totem pole. Read also of the experiences by artists Bill Reid and Robert Davidson, and of Cranmer's balance of chiefly status and ceremonial life as he carried his high-ranked name with a lack of interest in cultural ceremony, feeling that contemporary potlatches were shadows of those he had attended as a child with his father. Softback, 8.5" x 10.5", colour and monochrome photos, 144pp.
Published price: £31
Bibliophile price: £3.25


Additional product information

ISBN 9780295991443
Browse these categories as well: Last Chance to buy!, Art & Architecture, Biography/Autobiography

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Customer ratings for KESU: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer

Number of ratings: 1
Average rating: 5
Beautiful
from Anonymous on 09/12/2020
Bought this as a gift for someone who has lived in the Pacific Northwest (as I have). This book is beautifully printed & presented, and I love that the history of this craft is immortalised in print.