LUCY TASSEOR TUTSWEETOK (1934-2012), E1-135, Eskimo Point / Arviat
signed in syllabics, c. 1970-72
6 x 7 x 2 in — 14.6 x 17.8 x 5.1 cm
Although Lucy Tasseor and her good friend John Pangnark (see Lots 31 and 33) often worked together and shared a similar aesthetic, their sculptures are easily distinguishable. For one thing Pangnark carved single figures almost exclusively while Tasseor carved mostly figural groups. Also Pangnark was more focused on strictly formal concerns as he strove to strip away more and more “unessential detail” while Tasseor’s interest lay more in the subject matter and theme, specifically representing the strength of family bonds. Tasseor’s greatest works embrace Norman Zepp’s “Pure Vision” aesthetic while never losing sight of the physicality of the human face and figure.
Family is a superb example of Tasseor’s early classic style. She allows the natural shard-like shape of the stone to determine the overall form of the sculpture. She works with rather than against the material, creating content and meaning out of the undulating masses of the stone. Materiality becomes metaphor: the figure of the mother literally is the mountain that holds this family together; she is the foundation that gives it structure and meaning. And yet despite its materialty, it’s very “stoneness,” Family is carved with finesse and love. It is a composition of the utmost lyricism and beauty and strength.
References: for similar works by the artist see Darlene Wight, The Swinton Collection of Inuit Art (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1987) cat. 37 or Norman Zepp, Pure Vision: The Keewatin Spirit (Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, 1986) cat. 36; Jean Blodgett, Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Collection of Inuit Art (Art Gallery of Ontario, 1983) pp. 160; Gerald McMaster ed., Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection (Art Gallery of Ontario, 2010) p. 158. See also Walker’s Nov. 2015, Lot 33; Nov. 2016, Lot 7; Nov. 2017, Lot 94.
First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction www.firstarts.ca
a Toronto private collection