Untitled (Hunter with Animals), c. 1962 graphite drawing, 17 x 18 in (43.2 x 45.7 cm)
Galerie aux multiples collections, Quebec City, Parr Drawings, June 15 - July 30, 1988.
Ingo Hessel, “The Drawings of Parr: A Closer Look” in Inuit Art Quarterly, Fall 1988, reproduced, p. 16, no. 4
In the 1988 IAQ article “The Drawings of Parr: A Closer Look" (op. cit.), Ingo Hessel illustrates this drawing, Hunter with Animals, c. 1962, as an example of Parr’s Period II, a period during which “Parr had become more confident and had begun to work with far more precision.” This drawing perfectly illustrates a key element of Period II drawings:
What is most noteworthy about Parr’s compositions [of the period] is their great degree of stratified and systematized presentation. Figures are spaced as evenly as possible and fill the entire page, often right to the edges. There is a strong balance and distinction between positive and negative space. Spatial harmony is achieved through symmetry of mass, as the artist counter-balances blocks of vertical and horizontal shapes in various formations.
Hessel also comments on the relative sizes of subjects:
According to Terry Ryan (1979:4 ), Parr disregarded the relative size variations indicating the relative importance of subjects in Parr’s mind. But while walruses or caribou may be depicted as large as whales, or seals as large as walruses, they are seldom shown larger. This might suggest that Parr considered all animals he chose to represent to be more or less equally important to him.
Hessel argues that a better indication of the importance of a subject for Parr may be the frequency with which he depicted various species of animals.
Indeed, the various animals found in Hunter with Animals—whales, a polar bear, a caribou, a seal, and possibly a dog and wolf—represent a great percentage of the subjects that Parr would return to time and again. We cannot help but wonder as well if particular drawings might have been triggered by specific memories of hunts (or certain seasons or years) in Parr’s mind. Could this drawing, for example, be a visual record of a particular time in Parr’s life when whales were in particular abundance? And killer whales at that—note that one of them has captured a seal. We can probably assume that the hunter shown here is Parr himself. It’s a wonderful image, charged with energy, excitement, and so many sharp teeth!
1. Terry Ryan, “Parr” in The Beaver, Autumn 1979; this article was subsequently reprinted in Alma Houston, ed. Inuit Art: An Anthology (Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer, 1988) pp. 38-41.