Time Warp, 1984
acrylic on linen
3.04 x 12.19 m
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42060)
The monumental "Time Warp" presents Carl Beam's complex vision of the world as a panoramic cultural mindscape. A contemporary artist and philosopher of both Anishnaabe and French-Canadian heritage, Beam was uniquely positioned to reflect on both the incongruities and similarities within indigenous and Western thought. The immense scale of "Time Warp" emulates the span of time and world views it encompasses as Beam folds past, present, and future into the painting's conceptual space. Images hang on the surface and recede into the depths - the skeletal anatomy of a horse, staring faces from archival photographs, areas of energetic painting, enigmatic passages of text, and recurring images - all compete for the eye of the viewer. There are multiple possible points of entry into this work's ambitious intellectual, pictorial, and textual topography.