Daphne Bramham: Robert Davidson is a modern master who helped spark a renaissance
Many people make Northwest Coast art, but Robert Davidson is a modern master.
Born in 1946, he is a master carver of masks, totem poles and jewelry. He is a renowned painter and printmaker, while his aluminum sculptures have transformed the way we see and experience the traditional forms.
Yet every day that he is in his studio — and that’s most days — Davidson tries to move the art form forward, by innovating and experimenting.
“It’s not so much that I’m leaving tradition behind as it is expanding on it,” he told me as we sat by the wood stove on a cold, sunny, spring day in his studio near Boundary Bay.
Before he could add to the vocabulary of Northwest Coast art, the Alaskan-born Davidson of Haida and Tlingit descent spent years studying the old masters in order to be able to pick up from where they had left off.
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