Glenn Gear Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery

May 1–Aug 31
    Glenn Gear, TakKik rising, 2024 (digital collage), courtesy of the artist
Glenn Gear, TakKik rising, 2024 (digital collage), courtesy of the artist

The Inuit Art Foundation and Onsite Gallery present Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery, a series of commissioned digital murals by Inuit artists. In this iteration, Montreal-based artist Glenn Gear’s mixed media work TakKik rising (2024) animates the gallery’s façade at street level, bringing his unique and critical vision with Nunatsiavut flare to downtown Toronto.

Much of my work stems from a materials-based practice that is informed both by traditional Inuit work, inspired by sealskin sewing, beadwork, and hands-on craft making, as well as digital processes such as video projection, drawing, animation, and collage across different media. I move freely from intimate, vulnerable spaces into larger, mural-scale works that envelop and transport audiences to spaces of reflection, reverence, remediation, and meditation. Throughout my work there is often a sense of play, wonder, and magic—both life-giving and haunting—running slow and steady like an underground stream; a common ancestral thread connecting past to present; a vital sinew stitched through time with love and questions in the knots.

— Glenn Gear

The mural TakKik rising is a digital collage that explores themes of symmetry, geometric design, and the artist’s personal connection to traditional Inuit craft. It is part of Gear’s ongoing exploration of these themes, which are rooted in the natural environment and informed by the artist’s materials-based interdisciplinary practice. The artwork originates with photographs of beadwork and sealskin projects, juxtaposed with collected and gifted natural objects like driftwood, caribou antler, and mussel shells. These images serve as the foundation for digital kaleidoscopic designs, drawing inspiration from the natural symmetry found in snowflakes, particularly their six-fold symmetry.

TakKik rising is a celebration of the moon and the natural cycles of time, as six faces gaze inward in a close huddle. Inspired by the colours of the sea and sky, the concentric beaded rings radiate outwards, while also attracting inwards with its hypnotic repetition of pattern and forms. This energy invites viewers to immerse themselves in its intricate design, amplifying the beauty of nature.

TakKik is “moon” in Labrador Inuttut, often written as “taqqiq” in Nunavut.

Curated by Ryan Rice

Presented by Onsite Gallery in partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation and CONTACT

Glenn Gear is an Indigiqueer multidisciplinary artist of Inuit and settler descent currently living in Montréal. He is originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and has family ties to Nunatsiavut. His practice is grounded in a research-creation methodology shaped by Inuit and Indigenous ways of knowing—often employing the use of animation, photography and archives, painting, beading, and work with traditional materials such as sealskin. He has worked on projects with the National Film Board of Canada, collaborated with other artists, and created installations, online works, and live video/audio projections exploring the complex relationships between land, animals, history, and archives.

Ryan Rice, Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawake, is a curator, critic and creative consultant based in Toronto. His institutional and independent curatorial career spans 30 years in community, museums, artist-run-centres, public spaces and galleries. Rice focuses his extensive curatorial research and writing on contemporary and Onkwehón:we art. In 2023, he co-curated the 2023 Bonavista Biennale (Newfoundland) and he was appointed to OCAD University’s Onsite Gallery as the Executive Director alongside his Curator, Indigenous Art, post. He consistently contributes to multiple communities to advance leadership and organizational experiences in the arts and culture sector.