Book Review: Bill Reid Collected
“Reid’s creative journey has been interpreted as a lifelong quest towards a deep understanding of his Haida heritage and identity…”
—from Bill Reid: Deeply Carved
Bill Reid is one of Canadas’s most renowned and well-known first nations artists: the man who reinvigorated northwest Coast artwork and brought it fully into the public eye through his innovative works. These include the large bronze sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, nicknamed The Jade Canoe and displayed at the Vancouver international Airport, and The Raven and the First Men, a yellow cedar carving, both of which have been featured on the Canadian $20 bill.
Reid’s massive artistic achievements went far beyond his large format bronze sculptures and wood carvings most often seen by the Canadian public. His work ranged from what he called “monumentally small” to “exquisitely huge”, and involved paintings, jewellery pieces and serigraphs.
Bill Reid Collected, the third book in the Collected series, features the largest chronological collection to date of memorable works of Reid’s career in full-colour photographs. This is brought together by an introduction by Dr. Martine J. Reid, “Bill Reid: Deeply Carved”, that outlines a completely new system of classifying Reid’s work into three periods: Pre-Haida (19481951), Haida (1951-1968) and Beyond Haida (1968-1998).
This classification provides a new way of looking at Reid’s work for those familiar with it and a handy guide for the uninitiated, detailing Reid’s mastery of the third dimension during his classic Western jewellery training (Pre-Haida), his intense study of the formal conventions of Haida art (Haida), and his fusion of the Western and Haida traditions, “expanding the range of possibilities beyond both traditions” (Beyond Haida).
Beautifully photographed, this addition to the Collected series has a small format and price ideal for giftbuyers and visitors to British Columbia as well as Canada to help introduce more people to this groundbreaking artist’s work.
Martine J. Reid, PhD, is an author and an independent curator and scholar in indigenous northwest Coast art. she is Honourary Chair of the Bill Reid foundation, which created the Bill Reid Gallery of northwest Coast Art (BRG) in Vancouver, BC, in 2008. she was Director of Content and Research, and Curator at the BRG from 2008 until 2012. Dr. Reid is currently working on Bill Reid: Catalogue Raisonné and is a member of the CRsA (Catalogue Raisonné scholars Association). she was married to Bill Reid for nearly half of his creative life, during which most of his monumental works were created.