Kent Monkman: The Atelier
The Atelier offers a glimpse into the creative process of contemporary artist Kent Monkman. Employing the idiom of the museum diorama, a section of the gallery is transformed into the corner of an artist's studio, complete with furniture, studies, drawings, reference materials, etchings, and artist's materials.
Over the past decade, Monkman's work has referenced classical traditions of art history, often quoting European artists from the 19th century whose subjects were indigenous people of North America.
With the help of his two-spirited alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle testickle, Monkman has reversed the gaze, turning the European Male into the subject, to challenge received notions of truth in art history, and current museological representations of First Nations cultures.
The setting of the Atelier, with antique furniture and vintage wallpaper captures the historical flavour of the 19th century, but as in the rest of Monkman's work, plays fast and loose with anachronisms, fact and fiction, and complicates ideas of what is authentic and historically correct.
Recently, Monkman has leveled his aim at the Western novels of 19th century German novelist Karl May, and the "Sauerkraut Westerns" inspired by his fictitious "Indian" hero Winnetou. May's novels spawned a fascination with Native American cultures in generations of Germans and Eastern Europeans that persist today in many forms including Indian Camps, where Europeans dress up, and play Indian during their summer vacations.
Dance to Miss Chief (2010), screening as part of The Atelier exhibition, uses the idiom of the music video to remix footage from German Westerns and from Monkman's seminal multi-channel video installation, Dance to the Berdashe (2008).
Kent Monkman is an artist of Cree ancestry working in a variety of mediums. His work was featured in solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and at Stephen Freidman Gallery, London and in group exhibitions such as Remix: New Modernities in a Post Indian World at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists at the National Gallery of Canada, We come in peace: Histories of the Americas at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and The American West at Compton Verney, England. He was featured at the 2010 Sydney Biennale and will be part of the exhibition My Winnipeg this summer at La Maison Rouge, Paris.
."Kent Monkman : fantôme de l’atelier" ratsdeville
(blog) 24 June 2011 (in French)
Miwa Kojima and Oli Sorenson. "Review: Kent Monkman, The Atelier" M-Kos
(blog) 10 June 2011
Yves Lafontaine. "Kent Monkman : L'Atelier" Fugues
(Montreal) 27 May 2011 (in French)
Éric Clément. "Le Belgo: tissage, faux draps et peinture vivante" La Presse
(Montreal) 21 May 2011 (in French)
Kent Monkman's artist page
on the PFOAC website
Kent Monkman's artist website
Kent Monkman's 2007 exhibiiton Hunting Scenes and Other Amuseuments from the Great North West
click icon below to download a recent C.V. of the artist (adobe PDF)