Robert Boyer | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Robert Boyer

Robert Boyer, painter (b at Prince Albert, Sask 20 July1948; d at Macy, Nebraska 30 Aug, 2004).

Robert Boyer, painter (b at Prince Albert, Sask 20 July1948; d at Macy, Nebraska 30 Aug, 2004). He received his BEd from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus in 1971, then taught art and drama at Prince Albert from 1971-73 before becoming the community program officer for the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina from 1973-1975. He was appointed assistant professor and consultant in Indian art, Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, University of Regina, in 1978. In 1980 as an associate professor of Indian art history, Bob Boyer became head of the college's Department of Indian Art.

With its strong formal presence, Boyer's art reflected his awareness of contemporary trends in Western art such as abstract expressionism and colour field painting. This knowledge was combined with an insight into Aboriginal history and culture. Using geometric forms found in traditional Plains First Nations beadwork and hide painting (see Indigenous Art), this consummate colourist created largely symmetrical works consisting of interlocking arrows, triangles and rectangles. To these otherwise nonimagistic works, Boyer applied enigmatic, often ironic titles which give his highly intuitive personal statements about Aboriginal experience an ideological, historical and political charge.

Bob Boyer originally began working in acrylic on paper and canvas. In 1984, following a trip to China, he established himself as an innovator when he produced a series of oil on blanket works featured in Horses Fly Too, a 1984 exhibition organized by the Mackenzie Art Gallery. Solo exhibitions include Bob Boyer: A Blanket Statement organized by the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology in 1988 and Shades of Difference: The Art of Bob Boyer, organized by the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1991. Boyer participated in 2 major exhibitions organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization: In the Shadow of the Sun in 1988 and Indigena in 1992 and his work was also included in Native Canadian Voices, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, 1995.