From an early age, Adam McIsaac has been rooted in the ways of the Pacific Northwest. The son of a fisheries biologist, McIsaac spent his formative years walking the forests and riverbanks of the Pacific Northwest absorbing the environmental riches abundant in this area. As he grew older, his connection to the Northwest manifested itself into a keen interest in the ways of Northwest aboriginal cultures. McIsaac spent years studying and learning aboriginal life skills. It is from this background that his passion for Northwest Coastal Indian art emerged.
McIsaac sought the guidance of world renowned Northwest Coast artist Duane Pasco. In an intensive two-year study with Pasco, McIsaac artwork flourished. He gained considerable expertise in the styles of the Bella Coola tribe native to British Columbia, Canada, and learned to make his own traditional tools. Moved by his experiences with Pasco, McIsaac devoted the next ten years of his life to studying the extraordinary cultures of the Northwest Coast tribes. His work and study has led him on an adventurous trek from the Columbia River to Yakutat Bay, AK.
McIsaac’s true passion is to accurately recreate the artwork of Northwest Coast tribes as a means of bringing recognition to their culture and elaborate artwork. By using traditional carving tools, paints and pigments, he achieves this goal by highlighting the artistic intricacies innate to each of the Northwest Coast tribes. His artwork adheres to the strict tribal standards seen in historical Northwest Coast art and reflects its overall sophistication.
Exhibition Dates:April 2, 2009 - April 30, 2009
Three CanoesPencil Drawing on Paper, Conservation Framed
Canoe Columbia River LadleRed Alder
“When I first started getting public art commissions where I live in southwest Washington everyone wanted me to carve totem poles. The native people down here did not carve totem poles, I would explain to them. I began studying the artwork that was produced in the Columbia River region. After studying the carved sheep horn bowls from here I began to see the art in a new light. I started to see how I could manipulate it to become my own. This art form taught me all I know about art— how to see, how to draw— it spoke to me in a way that nothing had before. It is almost like the art found me. My work is inspired from working with native people teaching my classes and participating in native ceremonies. Working with native people is the greatest inspiration for me. ” – Adam McIsaac ( Non-Indigenous)
McIsaac’s recent focus has been on the artistry of the Columbia River tribes. Inspired by this local artistry, he created traditional relief carved panels now displayed at the Skamania Lodge located along the Columbia River. He was recently the lead carver of the Cathlapotle Plank House, and has received a number of public commissions. He currently teaches carving to Native youth at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde reservation.