Michael Massie

Michael Massie is a mixed-media artist based out of Kippens, NL. He utilises a range of imagery and mediums including metal, stone, bone, wood and textiles. Massie’s pieces are often comical and related to his personal life, frequently featuring witty titles.  
Massie’s art gained public awareness after he was featured in a 1992 issue of The Inuit Art Quarterly [1]. The popularity of Massie’s work broadened public conceptions of Inuit art as Southern audiences had traditionally been dismissive of work that was not stone, bone or were materials otherwise considered to be inauthentic. 

Massie has incorporated acid etching into the surfaces of some of his silver pieces, using fine lines of decoration to create intricate images and patterns. Other sculptures have been granted a degree of mobility, fostering a tactile sense of play [2]. Each of Massie’s sculptures invite viewing from all angles. The piece Clumsy Little Man (2013) captures a regally posed seal while the opposing side tells the story of a man who has taken an unfortunate tumble [3].
Massie is most well recognized for his silver teapots. Each is unique and incorporates different visual references from surreal to minimalist styles. The teapots began as a tribute to his grandmother whom Massie remembers avidly drinking tea during their visits. Massie dedicated his first teapot to her memory titled may-tea (1991) in reference to her name ‘May’ as well as his Métis heritage [4]. The teapot would later be featured on the cover of the 1996 spring issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.

Massie has exhibited across Canada and internationally. His artwork is held in major public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON which acquired his piece uni-tea (2000) featuring a spiralling ebony narwhal tusk in 2004 [5]. In 2006 Massie’s first curated solo exhibition Silver & Stone: The Art of Michael Massie was held at The Rooms in St. John’s, NL. Massie was elected as a Member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2017.



Citations/Footnotes

1.Heather Igloliorte, “Michael Massie”, SakKijajuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2017): 79.
2. Gloria Hickey, “Silver and Stone: The Art of Michael Massie,” Inuit Art Quarterly 21 no. 4 (Winter 2006): 22.
3. Igloliorte, “Michael Massie”, 80.
4. Inuit Art Foundation, “Chronology: The Transformation of Michael Massie” Inuit Art Quarterly 21 no. 4 (Winter 2006): 29.
5. Sonia Gunderson, “Michael Massie: Playing in His Own World,” Inuit Art Quarterly 19 no. 3&4 (Fall/Winter 2004): 35.