Duane Linklater: mymothersside

September 18, 2021 – January 16, 2022


Duane Linklater works across a range of mediums to address the contradictions of contemporary Indigenous life within—and beyond—settler systems of knowledge, representation, and value. This exhibition brings together sculptures, video works, and digital prints on linen from the past decade of the artist’s practice, as well as new adaptations of installations that he has continually revisited and revised. Linklater will also make modifications to the exhibition midway through its run, creating a presentation that embodies the fluidity and improvisation vital to his approach to art making.

Breaching the boundaries of the galleries, the exhibition spills out into the courtyard and culminates in an architectural intervention that literally tears down the walls. These gestures serve to open the historically exclusionary construct of the museum to Indigenous content, including works in sculpture and video that focus on enduring ancestral practices such as hunting, berry gathering, and fur trading; digital translations of tribal objects held in institutional collections; and a series of large-scale structures made with tepee poles. With his draped and folded tepee cover paintings, Linklater transforms the semicircular canvas wrapping of the traditional Cree dwelling into a support for digitally printed imagery that he tints with natural dyes.

Appearing amid these culturally significant forms and materials, references to the artist’s family, childhood home, and favorite bands, films, and garments suggest an expansive constellation of identifications that defies reductive notions of identity. This refusal to be pinned down is an assertion of sovereignty and self-determination—a way for Linklater to counter ongoing processes of erasure, extraction, and dispossession that impede Indigenous people’s potential. Through art, he aims to create what he calls “a zone of non-interference,” a space of autonomy and agency, where that potential can manifest.

Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Cree, b. 1976, Treaty 9 territory, Canada) lives and works in North Bay, Ontario. Linklater earned a BFA in fine art and Native studies from the University of Alberta in 2005 and an MFA in film and video from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College in 2012. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, Lansing (2017), 80WSE Gallery, New York, and Mercer Union, Toronto (2016), and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2015). Recently, Linklater’s work has been included in group exhibitions at, among others, Artists Space, New York (2019), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2019), and the High Line, New York (2018). In 2011, Linklater initiated Wood Land School, a nomadic, collaborative project that centers Indigenous forms and ideas in the institutional spaces the school inhabits.

Duane Linklater: mymothersside is organized by Amanda Donnan, Chief Curator. Generous support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ArtsFund, the Frye Foundation, and Frye Members.
 Media sponsorship is provided by Crosscut.

Duane Linklater. can the circle be unbroken 2, 3, 4, and 5, 2019. Digital prints on linen. Dimensions variable. Installation view, SOFT POWER, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, October 26, 2019–February 17, 2020. Photo: Don Ross

Duane Linklater. Blueberries for 15 Vessels, 2012/2021. Blueberry bushes, clay, earth. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view from Field Station: Duane Linklater, Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 2017. Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Photo: Eat Pomegranate Photography

Duane Linklater. The place I seek to go, 2014. Coyote fur, garment rack, hanger, flat screen TV, Mac Mini, HD video loop, cables. 132 x 66 x 20 in. Collection of Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grants program, 2016. © Duane Linklater. Installation view from But the sun is up and you’re going?, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, Canada, 2014. Photo: SITE Photography. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Duane Linklater. boys don’t cry, 2017. Digital prints on hand-dyed linen. Overall: 122 13/16 x 172 13/16 in. Art Gallery of Ontario, Purchase with funds from the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the Art Toronto 2019 Opening Night Preview, 2019, 2019/2305. © Duane Linklater. Installation view from apparatus for the circulation of Indigenous voices and ideas into the air, Western Front, Vancouver, 2017. Photo: Dennis Ha. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Duane Linklater. dislodgevanishskinground, 2019. Twelve painted tepee poles, steel cable, charcoal, rope, digital print on linen (black tea, blueberry extract, sumac dye, charcoal). 220 x 174 x 174 in. Installation view from Danica Barboza, Jason Hirata, Yuki Kimura, Duane Linklater, Artists Space, New York City, 2019. Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Photo: Daniel Pérez

Duane Linklater. What Then Remainz, 2016/2021. Disassembled wall(s), powder coated steel, steel screws. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view from From Our Hands, Mercer Union, Toronto, 2016. © Duane Linklater. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Duane Linklater. can the circle be unbroken 2, 3, 4, and 5, 2019. Digital prints on linen. Dimensions variable. Installation view, SOFT POWER, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, October 26, 2019–February 17, 2020. Photo: Don Ross

Duane Linklater. Blueberries for 15 Vessels, 2012/2021. Blueberry bushes, clay, earth. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view from Field Station: Duane Linklater, Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 2017. Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Photo: Eat Pomegranate Photography

Duane Linklater. The place I seek to go, 2014. Coyote fur, garment rack, hanger, flat screen TV, Mac Mini, HD video loop, cables. 132 x 66 x 20 in. Collection of Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grants program, 2016. © Duane Linklater. Installation view from But the sun is up and you’re going?, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, Canada, 2014. Photo: SITE Photography. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Duane Linklater. boys don’t cry, 2017. Digital prints on hand-dyed linen. Overall: 122 13/16 x 172 13/16 in. Art Gallery of Ontario, Purchase with funds from the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the Art Toronto 2019 Opening Night Preview, 2019, 2019/2305. © Duane Linklater. Installation view from apparatus for the circulation of Indigenous voices and ideas into the air, Western Front, Vancouver, 2017. Photo: Dennis Ha. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Duane Linklater. dislodgevanishskinground, 2019. Twelve painted tepee poles, steel cable, charcoal, rope, digital print on linen (black tea, blueberry extract, sumac dye, charcoal). 220 x 174 x 174 in. Installation view from Danica Barboza, Jason Hirata, Yuki Kimura, Duane Linklater, Artists Space, New York City, 2019. Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Photo: Daniel Pérez

Duane Linklater. What Then Remainz, 2016/2021. Disassembled wall(s), powder coated steel, steel screws. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view from From Our Hands, Mercer Union, Toronto, 2016. © Duane Linklater. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver