Allan Packer, born 1956
Windsor Ontario, Canada
In 1980, Allan Packer, a 22-year old bohemian artist painting in Toronto, journeyed north to the high arctic community of Cape Dorset with Terry Ryan to develop an operational print etching shop for the vibrant and internationally recognized Dorset Fine Arts. There he met Inuit artists Kananginak, Pitseolak and Pudlo Pudlat. He would not fully realize the impact of these relationships until years later during his residency at the Banff Centre in Canada where he addressed the political and cultural impact of this community of Inuit artists in a sculpture entitled Corvus Corax, 2005 (The Banff Centre Canada).
After his voyage to the Arctic, Packer traveled to Paris to study with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17. Hayter, a scientist and artist, incited Packer’s experimentation with mathematics – an influence that is reflected in Packer’s earlier drawings and most recently in his dodecahedron sculpture Time Machine, 2006 (Kohler Factories, Wisconsin).
In 1983, Packer returned to the states to complete one year of an MFA degree at the University of Tennessee and three years later he moved to New York City, where he abandoned oil and canvas in favor of books. Books became his primary medium and he created his first sculpture – a portrait of the poet Barbara Barg, entitled The Poet, in 1988 (private collection) and another, Forming and Thinking, 1992 (Denver Art Museum). With the encouragement of John Duff and Donald Bachelor, Packer devoted himself completely to sculpture.
After 14 years in New York, Packer moved to the West Coast, settling in Seattle, where he has gained recognition for his wry, politically-charged, cast plastic sculptures. These large sculptures and installations have received awards including two major Canada Council grants, Artist Trust Fellowship and GAP grants, and Washington State Arts Commission Grant.