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Thunderbird Spirit, Clemence Wescoupe

Thunderbird Spirit, Clemence Wescoupe

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22" X 24"


    Clemence Wescoupe is credited as a founding member of the Woodlands School.  The term is used to denote the work of artists from the Ojibwa, the Cree and the Odawa. Ojibwa artists Norval Morrisseau and Odawa artist Daphne Odjig are the recognized Elders of the school.  After the deaths of Benjamin Chee-Chee, Jackson Beardy and Carl Ray, it may be fair to say that Clemence Wescoupe is the third most prominent living great master.
      His command of negative space and the fine flowing elegant lines, reach deep into a cultural artistic tradition, seeking spiritual harmony. Guided with a powerful sensitivity to emotions, his art is concerned primarily with spiritual guardianship.  Nature in its pure form provides an endless source of inspiration, yet many of its images are familiar and its appeal immediate and profound.  A self taught artist, he achieved national and international acclaim in his early youth. 

     Clemence Wescoupe, of Saulteaux background, was born in 1951 on the Long Plain Reserve in Manitoba. His native name is “Oo-za-biness” which means “Brown Partridge”. Wescoupe’s work began following the early Woodland and Prairie Aboriginal tradition of such artists as Odjig and Jackson Beardy and in 1976 started his own graceful, flowing lines and stylized forms, emerging somewhat at the same time Benjamin Chee Chees work was introduced into the Winnipeg area.

     Clemence emerged in the mid-seventies when Robert Checkwitch of Great Grasslands Graphics first saw his work and began publishing Wescoupe's silkscreen prints. The elegant image, Rainbirds, which came out in 1977 was one of the most popular and successful Woodland Aboriginal prints ever created. Wescoupe subsequently had two one-artist shows with The Wah-sa, and was part of many group shows with that gallery, including the June 2003 “Freshwater” show. He has also had one-artist shows at the Nicholas Gallery in Ottawa, Gallery Phillip in Toronto, Craft Guild in Montreal, Eagledown Gallery in Edmonton, an “environmental” show in Los Angeles, and solo exhibitions in Frankfurt and the University of Heidelberg. He currently has the majority of his originals at the Northern Art Impressions Gallery in Lake Louise, Alberta.