Roger Purdue: An Introduction, A Retrospection

1798907_10152194337508407_234406530_o-2It is rare in this age to discover an untouched body of work by a skilled artist who worked in relative isolation, and without bowing to the dictates of the art market. Yet, Roger Purdue was just one of these cases. Purdue created stunning serigraphs primarily for his and his community’s enjoyment, and his work has never been seen outside of Whidbey Island and Orcas Island, WA. The artist was inspired by his great grandmother, who was Tsimshian, as well as many summers spent sailing the coast of British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.

Roger Purdue passed away in January 2014 from complications with Parkinson’s Disease. Sadly, we were never able to meet the artist, but we are fortunate to know him through the artwork he has left behind. His artistic legacy is a portfolio of meticulously pulled prints in dazzling colors, and made with a keen eye for quality and harmony. Purdue’s gradation of colors and clean lines are so precise that they almost appear digitally designed, or ink-jet printed, but each was hand-pulled.

His fluid formline designs are breathtaking in their sophistication, elegance and complexity. Salmon twist and dart with muscular movements through many works, and eagles spread wide wings that seem to have thousands of feathers. The natural world is illustrated in exuberant color and dynamic lines, heedless of the small human figures that occasionally wander into view. People are uniformly rendered as small silhouettes, or anonymous figures who are simply rowing by, whereas each animal subject is given a wild, unique personality.

We are proud to work with Purdue’s estate in showing a wide array of his works to a brand new audience, and to help put his name on the map of Northwest Coast art.

Exhibition Dates:

February 5, 2015 - February 28, 2015

Involved Artists:

Roger Purdue