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"Star Blanket III"
Wally Dion, "Star Blanket III," 2012, circuit boards, wire and copper, 48” x 46”.
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Wally Dion, "Thunderbird."
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"Man Changing Into Thunderbird"
Wally Dion, "Man Changing Into Thunderbird."
Darrell Bell Gallery — $3,000 to $20,000
By Maureen Latta
Saskatoon artist Wally Dion admires artists who communicate the big picture about the impact of human technologies – people like Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky and American digital-media artist Aaron Koblin. From Dion’s perspective as an aboriginal artist, the scientific worldview has quashed forms of storytelling that evolved over thousands of years. So his two- and three-dimensional works are experiments in storytelling that reach into the deep past for inspiration while exploiting high-tech materials.
“ My work tries to suggest we are a people who still need to understand themselves and their relation to the world,” says Dion, who is completing a Master’s degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. Earlier, as an undergraduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, he brought that theme into large portraits of aboriginal people, works that became overtly political when he began styling them like Soviet propaganda posters. He has also experimented with circuit-board sculptures that use traditional star-blanket patterns. Dion was included in last year’s Oh, Canada exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. His work is in the collections of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.
Dion’s current work features kinetic art installations that take a wider stance towards human history and thought. His materials are challenging to manipulate and the process can be painstaking. Gallery owner Darrell Bell says there’s a waiting list of buyers. “The work is lovely,” he says. “It’s beautifully crafted and it’s in demand.”