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Northern Noah

Tony Vanderlee

Northern Noah

About the Artist

Tony Vanderlee had been working seriously in wood carving for the last 12 years of his life. He had attended the University of Calgary and was a member of the Palliser Club. Tony taught woodworking at Canmore Collegiate High School until his passing. He had never been into a gallery to exhibit his work as he never thought he was an artist. Due to his creative artistic talent and how well he was respected in the Bow Valley a memorial exhibition "Nevermore, The Art of Tony Vanderlee" took place at the CAAG Library Art Gallery, Canmore, May, 2006. More than 200 people attended the opening of the loaned works exhibition including friends, teachers, students, family and fellow artists. To honour his legacy the Canmore Collegiate High School created the Tony Vanderlee Raven award, which was presented to two students in 2006.

Comments on the Work

Tony's carving "Northern Noah" is a bit naïve, a bit folksy, and full of humour. It brings a smile to the viewers face somewhat like Vance Theoret's "Bear in a Birchbark Canoe" also in the McCreath Canoe Collection. An old man figure, "Noah" paddles a colourful wooden canoe in which stands a bull moose and a resting cow moose. Noah, with his long white beard and flowing green cap is paddling and seated directly behind the bull moose who stands as a sentinel in the bow of the canoe. There is really no room in the canoe for any movement by the passengers and that adds a sense of hilarity to the work. The canoe is painted white with red gunwales, the paddle is red and the bottom of the canoe is green in a simulated wave pattern indicating movement of the vessel. The movement would be incredibly slow as the occupants weight would create great stress on Noah and the canoe.

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