JESSIE OONARK, O.C., R.C.A. (1906-1985)
Private Collection, Atlanta, GA
Oonark takes the rich pattern work on the traditional amaut and stylizes it even further, rendering it as one would a modernist composition. For an image that tends nearly towards abstraction, Oonark incorporates several grounding details, including the traditional face tattoo of an Inuit woman. A prime example of the artist’s ability to translate common objects into symbols, the woman’s crescent-shaped ulu knife is used as a motif on both sides of the subject’s face. Oonark’s signature use of symmetry is displayed here, and a clear link to the artist’s famous “Big Woman” print can be seen.
Similar prints are held in the permanent collections of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, the National Gallery in Ottawa, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.