Gail Tremblay is of Onondaga and Micmac ancestry. She resides in Olympia, WA has been contributing to the arts and cultural life of Washington state for over twenty years, by sharing a unique vision through her multi-media visual works, art installations, her critical writing, and poetry.
She is a professor at The Evergreen State College, where she has mentored hundreds of students in the fields of visual arts, writing, Native American and cultural studies. She has served the larger artistic community as a member and president of the National Board of the Women’s Caucus for Art, and received a national “Mid-Career Art Award” from that organization in 1993. Her influence has been felt on the international level through her two trips to China as part of women’s artists’ delegations, and her exhibitions in Switzerland in 1985, in China in 1995, in Mexico in 1998, and the Czech Republic in 2000.
Her visual art has been featured in Washington in over 40 group and solo exhibits and throughout the nation in an additional 60 exhibits. Her writing and art has been published in more than 50 different books, journals, and periodicals, and she is in great demand as a lecturer and workshop presenter. She has worked for thirty years to assure that issues of diversity and gender equity are addressed in the teaching of art, in the writing of art criticism and art history, in the curating of exhibits, and in the granting of public and private funding to artists and art institutions.
“I use non-traditional materials to explore conceptual ways I can weave traditional Onondaga and Micmac basketry forms so that my work will comment on indigenous life in the 21st Century. I began making film baskets when I taught with Marge Brown, a filmmaker at The Evergreen State College where I teach. I asked our students for out-takes from their films. Film was an interesting material, and I enjoyed the notion of recycling film and gaining control over a medium that had historically been used by both Hollywood and documentary filmmakers to stereotype American Indians. I relished the irony of making film take on the traditional fancy stitch patterns of our ash splint and sweet grass baskets. Soon I began to develop more complex patterns and to use leader* as well as exposed film. I also began to use recycled footage from films being thrown away by libraries so I could choose certain images that suited my themes. I enjoy creating titles to contextualize these baskets and often choose materials to ironic purpose. The choice of weaving stitches, many of which have names, is deliberate. I make baskets with both 35 and 16 mm film.” — Gail Tremblay