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Gerald R. McMaster

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JULY/AUGUST 1988      INDIAN ART SUPPLEMENT p09  
Gerald R. McMaster Sun Dancers
Gerald R. McMaster "Sun Dancers"

1988 - Acrylic on Mattboard
Born in 1953 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
1977 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1975 Associate of Fine Arts, Institute of American Indian Studies, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gerald McMaster has had many awards and commissions: it is from one such commission that the current body of work has evolved. He was invited to participate in Twinning, an art auction to be held in 1988 to raise money for an exchange program between African tribal groups and native Canadians. His earliest work in this series, inspired by the body language of the Masai in Kenya, is a visual record of that image.

Out of this imagery, McMaster's attempt to recreate a spiritual link became more and more symbolic of every man, simplified to the essence of human form.

He has captured in small panels, created as multiples, a spiritual soul. Some are tightly bound as wrapped surfaces, others are less visually realistic as human form, still others became the spirit of the buffalo.

In the larger works, references exist to the teepee hide shapes, to hailstones, to the life force dividing lines and to the more obvious beaded decorations, cross shapes, the four directions and the sky. Often the forms break the surface of the defining shapes in which they exist, sometimes within the shapes, a sense of limitlessness and infinity lies behind the human forms. At their best, they are wrenching works, pulling at the unconscious memory of community shared.

McMaster is pleased with the white, almost transparent bodies that are his most recent work because they are neither gender nor ethnic specific. From a specific tribal image, McMaster has produced the vision of soul. Gerald McMaster currently has an exhibition "T.P. Series" travelling throughout Saskatchewan.