SHAMAN TRANSFORMATION

MICHEL BEAUVAIS

MARBLE, STONE

ARTIST
BIOGRAPHY

Sweeping, strong lines set into motion by light gliding along the sheen of a finished piece characterize the work of this sculptor.  

Michel Beauvais is a member of the Kahnawake Mohawk Band, which is situated near Montreal, Quebec. Working primarily in marble, Michel Beauvais manages to convey both serenity and strength in his work. His mother, who is of French descent, always ensured that he took the best from both cultures, and this unique blend is what gives direction to his life and his art.  

The traditional lands of the Mohawk people run from around Montreal, Quebec to around present day Albany, New York. They belong to the Iroquois confederation and they are known as keepers of the Eastern Door - guarding the Iroquois against invasions from that direction.  

Michel grew up in Ste-Adele, a small town in the Laurentian Mountains, and was never far from the influence of the Mohawk community.  

Michel has always had a passion for drawing and first attempted soapstone carving at the age of 10, but not until 1987 after relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia, did he consider making his art a full time pursuit.  

Completely self-taught, through a process of trial and error Michel developed his own unique style, one that marries the representational and the abstract. The quarrying of much of his own stone from remote sites has become an integral and important part of the creative process as Michel draws on his inherent love of the land and its wildlife for inspiration.  

Marble is a very hard dense stone - difficult and very slow to carve. Every piece he carves began from a marble boulder that was about three or four times the size as he weaves his image around the inclusion lines – he hits one and the sculpture will split in two.  

Amazingly, Michel only uses simple hand tools - hammers, chisels and files to carve his sculptures. He carves intuitively and likes to take advantage of a stone's rough outline, patterns and flow. By allowing himself to be guided by nature and intuition, he follows lines that can take him and the piece in unexpected directions. His finished pieces are characterized by how they capture and reflect ambient light – a finish he achieves by painstakingly hand polishing the piece with diamond sandpaper to actually crystallize the exterior of the marble.  

Michel's art explores the culture of his Mohawk heritage through the incorporation of traditional native symbols and motifs. Through his work Michel tries to express not just the stories and legends, but emotional connections and how these illuminate the extent of his imagination and spirit.  

His work reflects a contemporary vision, strongly echoing the historic sense of style of the Mohawk people. Michel signs his pieces with his initials alongside a moose print, his clan symbol. He now lives with his family in British Columbia.
In my work I try to reflect, and be guided by, a contemporary vision of the imagination, spirit and the historic sense of style of the Kahnawake Mohawk. As I work the patterns and swirls of the marble guide me in finding the creation. 
Michel Beauvais