Opening This Week: Two Original Exhibitions Open at Saint Mary's College Museum of Art

On Wednesday, September 15, Keith + Kari and Collective Memories: Stonecuts from Cape Dorset open at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (SMCMoA).

On view through December 12, 2021, these exhibitions explore themes of narrative and memory, inviting visitors back into the galleries as the fall semester begins. Investigating and tracing landscape, Keith + Kari features ceramic artist Kari Marboe responding in site-specific work to environments depicted by the California painter William Keith. Celebrating Inuit artists and printmakers, Collective Memories: Stonecuts from Cape Dorset features contemporary stonecut prints from the college’s permanent collection that speaks to original printmaking practices at a remote Canadian trading post in the 1960s. The exhibitions are on view Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to all programs and events are free. A public opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. 


Keith + Kari

Kari Marboe, a contemporary ceramic artist, creates site-specific work in response to the 19th century California landscape painter William Keith. Marboe explores knowledge and meaning of landscape by tracing and investigating four iconic places painted by William Keith: Mount Tamalpais, Stinson Beach, Lake Lagunitas, and the Moon. 

Through interviews and visits, Marboe contemplates how these locations, previously visited, sketched, and painted by William Keith in the 1870s-1910s, appear over 100 years later. Marboe reimagines Keith's interpretations of these physical and topographical terrains through molding materials of clay, soil, and earth. She reimagines the missing west peak of Mount Tamalpais, links the coastline of Stinson Beach through narration, and remaps the boundaries of shifting fence lines surrounding Lake Lagunitas. Her fourth location, the Moon, redirects the focus from the physical site to an aesthetic mood, exploring lunar soil compositions and the mysteries of nocturnal light.  

“Marboe’s process is about gaining knowledge surrounding the complex histories and narratives tied to a place. She creates sculptural works and materials that interpret this complexity through a style of impactful simplicity,” states Museum Director and Curator Lauren MacDonald. “Marboe’s methodology towards simplicity as a form appears throughout the exhibition, from the watercolor sketches and ceramic shapes to the physical mediums that make the materials’ composition.”

Featuring ephemera, sculpture, and watercolor, Keith + Kari seeks to understand and record a site’s meaning and representation –what changes and what stays the same.  Keith + Kari is presented in partnership with the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC). A panel discussion is scheduled for Thursday, November 4, at 6 p.m at the Soda Center. An artist dialogue and artmaking evening will be held on Thursday, November 18th. More information can be found here >>.


Artist Biography: 

Marboe earned her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2008 and then her MFA from UC Berkeley in 2012. She has exhibited work at the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, CA, Mills College Art Museum, CA, A-B Projects (Nicole Seisler), CA, 500 Capp Street/Southern Exposure, CA, Berkeley Art Center, CA, Museum of Craft and Design, CA, Wave Pool Gallery, OH, Museum of Northern California Art, CA, Jacksonville University, FL, and the Waffle Shop Billboard, PA. She has also participated in residencies at Greenwich House Pottery, NY, Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, ME, Mutual Stores, CA, and Elsewhere Museum, NC. Marboe lives in the Bay Area and is currently an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts.


Collective Memories: Stonecuts from Cape Dorset

Collective Memories: Stonecuts from Cape Dorset features contemporary graphic arts crafted by Inuit artists and printmakers during a transitional decade in the arctic region. Pulling from Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Permanent Collection, the exhibition showcases fifteen stonecut prints created during the early years of the 1960s and 1970s at a remote co-operative (co-op) post at Nunavut, Canada. 

Founded by a division of the Canadian government in 1959, the co-op at Cape Dorset sought to encourage art and craft as an income source for local Inuit residents transitioning from seminomadic camps to permanent settlements. The residents experimented with materials and techniques at the co-operative, inventing their own adaptation of woodcut printmaking through direct stencil and relief carving on stone. The work created through this process became known as stonecut prints. Editions from these prints were collected and catalogued, with selections being shared in periodical publications across Canada, the United States, and Europe. 

The selected works in Collective Memories speaks to the co-op’s operation as well as the reflections and lived experiences of the artists and printmakers. Many of these prints share imagery of mammals, birds, and marine life interpreted by the artists reflecting on legends and storytelling from earlier lived experiences in migratory camps.

“The curatorial approach to this exhibition sought to give voice and agency to the artists and printmakers at Cape Dorset,” shares art historian Britt Royer. “When the prints were gifted into the college’s collection in 2008, no printmakers were credited on the works or in the object files. We identified these printmakers through researching and cross-referencing databases, enabling us to give proper credit to the collective at the co-op. The wall labels now reference the printmakers alongside the artists.” 

Collective Memories features designs and artwork by Pitseolak Ashoona, Lucy Qinnuayuak, Pauta Saila, Ningeeuga Oshuitoq, Agnes Nanogak Goose, Kenojuak Ashevak, Napachie Pootoogook, and Tumira Ashoona. Prints and editions by Timothy Ottochie, Lukta Qiatsuk, Eegyvudluk Pootoogook, and Iyola Kingwatsiak.

The stonecut prints featured were gifted into the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Permanent Collection in memory of the collector, Barbara Allen Burns. The exhibition was created with consultation from the Saint Mary's College of California Intercultural Center (IC) and the College Committee of Inclusive Excellence (CCIE). More information can be found here >>.






Media Contact:

Britt Royer


Image credits: 

I. Detail design featuring Kari Marboe, Conversations with Strangers at Stinson Beach, 2021, ceramic. with William Keith, Stinson Beach, c. 1870–1880s, oil on canvas, Gift of Cochrane Browne, Jr., Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Permanent Collection [0-166] 

II. ​​Kenojuak Ashevak (1927–2013) Owls, Ravens and Dogs, 1967, 24 1/2 x 33 5/8 inches, Stonecut, Ed. 42/50 Printed by Iyola Kingwatsiak (1933–2000), Gifted in memory of Barbara Allen Burns, Saint Mary's College Museum of Art Permanent Collection [2008.11.2].