AFA Art House

Dean Drever
Date: 1970
Birth Place: CANADA, EDMONTON
Biography: As a citizen of the Haida Nation and devotee of its culture, Edmonton-born and Alberta College of Art + Design trained, Dean Drever explores many of its aesthetics and key icons, particularly the bear as an embodiment of a supernatural being possessing physical and supernatural powers. To explore the effects of colonial and class-based violence, Drever has incorporated baseball bats, wrenches, and even guns (which he sometimes engraves or paints with incendiary words and phrases) into his work. One of his stacked paper sculptures depicts a fully-costumed Ku Klux Klansman, a figure rendered in blank, white flammability. One of Drever’s most iconic works is Bear with Salmon, a stainless steel Kodiak bear twice as large as the real-life Alaskan predators. The statue depicts a bear feasting on salmon springing from a waterfall, and speaks to the violence necessary for the hunter to survive, and the cost of that violence for the hunted. The 3300 kg casting travelled 3900 km from Rock Tavern, New York to rest at the base of Edmonton’s EPCOR Tower in a troubled neighbourhood teeming with homeless people. Another Drever work, Pass the Hat, is a five meter tall totem pole of stacked paper unveiled at Union Station for Villa Toronto (2015). Drever’s solo exhibitions, including Everything’s Going To Be OK Again Soon, Bear Hunt, and Supercrawl, have excited viewers in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Vancouver, Regina, Toronto, and Hamilton. Other showcases including his work have been mounted in San Francisco, New York and Dundee, Scotland. The Art Gallery of Alberta, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Global Affairs Canada, and a range of private and public collections across Canada, the U.S., and Europe host his sculptures. Drever has won grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
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