of Inuit art at the Art Gallery of Ontario from
1988 to 1994, Norman Zepp began collecting Inuit
sculpture while still an undergraduate at the University
of Saskatchewan in the late 1960s. Over the next
three decades, Zepp, together with his partner
Judith Varga, went on to assemble one of the country’s
most important and unusual private collections
of Arctic art. The pair’s recent decision
to part with their collection was coupled with
a desire to share it with a wider audience and
preserve it in book form for posterity.
With over a hundred colour reproductions of sculptures
and wallhangings representing a variety of artists
and regions, Vision and Form does more than document
an extraordinary collection of northern art.
In a series of short essays, curator Robert Kardosh
offers insightful descriptions of the artworks
while providing readers with a sense of the unique
cultural and art-historical context from which
they have come. And in an informative introduction,
Kardosh discusses the collection in relation
to the collectors, briefly addressing the current
debate over the place of connoisseurship and
the role of southern institutions generally with
respect to contemporary Inuit art.
The book concludes with an afterword by Zepp
in which the collector and former AGO curator
recollects his travels throughout the North and
his encounters with many of the artists he has
admired over the years, generously illustrated
with remarkable photographs of the artists in
their homes and workspaces.