Shared human experience has always been a powerful force in art. It has enabled great artists of the past to reach out over the ages and touch us with their humanity. Theirs was a great purpose in the doing, and those well-loved efforts have common profound meaning for mankind today.
So begins Canadian artist David Blackwood’s foreword to The Bone Fields, an artbook comprising a collection of prints by Dan Steeves, a New Brunswick artist whose work has been inspired primarily by the intricacies of relationships.
Each of the twenty-two prints in the book is accompanied by short stories written by journalist Lynda MacGibbon who interviewed Steeves over the course of a year to research the motivation and history behind each work.
Steeves’ prints bring to life the personalities of several generations of his family and friends, but the essence of his work goes much deeper than this. Underscoring all of Steeves’ work is an interest in the historical roots that have shaped Atlantic Canadians, particularly as they relate to one another in families or friendships.
As Tom Smart, curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, comments in an introductory essay to the book, Steeves’ world is one “where understanding universal truths is gained through the meditation upon the peculiarities of place and family… His art calls us to find significance in the world and people around us.”
Described by one reviewer as “hauntingly beautiful”, The Bone Fields is Steeves’ first book. A printmaking assistant in the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Steeves has exhibited his prints internationally.
Designed by Goose Lane Editions, The Bone Fields was launched at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, in conjunction with an exhibit of the work represented in the book. The exhibit then travelled to Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and to the University of Toronto’s Blackwood Gallery.
ISBN: 0-9697236-0-1. Printed in Canada. Hard bound, 56 pages.
A fundamental of the impulse to myth-making is the belief in the primacy of human creation to give form to the chaos of nature.