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CONTINUUM: 12 Artists


CONTINUUM: 12 Artists an 18 month series of exhibitions pairing renowned contemporary Native artists, opened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan on April 26, 2003. The series opened with exhibitions by Rick Bartow (Yurok) and Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee) and continues with five other paired shows.

Other artists in the series include Joe Feddersen and Harry Fonseca, Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds and Richard Ray Whitman, George Longfish and Nora Naranjo-Morse, Judith Lowry and Shelley Niro. The series closes with exhibitions of the work of Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith and Marie Watt. The artists in the exhibition represent the Arapaho, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Colville, Cree, Flathead, Hamowi-Pit River, Hawaiian, Mohawk, Mountain Maidu, Nisenan Maidu, Pueblo Santa Clara, Seneca, Shoshone, Tuscarora, Yuchi and Yurok cultures.

"We are very pleased to show the important work of these 12 renowned Native artists," said W. Richard West (Southern Cheyenne), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. "Their work confirms the presence of Native people at the forefront of the visual arts, while addressing issues -- such as identity, place, language and history - that have personal, cultural and universal relevance."

Rick Bartow's works are concerned with personal transfiguration imagery influenced by his own heritage and other world cultures. His 30 recent pastel works on paper and acrylic paintings depict images of animals-such as ravens, wolves, and hawks-portraits and representations of the figure.

Bartow has received numerous awards and fellowships and, currently, is the subject of a mid-career retrospective titled, "My Eye," that has traveled to museums and institutions around the country. He has exhibited extensively since 1977.

Kay WalkingStick showed approximately 30 works from her "Chief Joseph" painting series and complemented them with a group of new mixed media works on paper and a site-specific drawing on the gallery wall. The 1974­77 series of paintings reflect the resistance of Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph (1840­1904) to the government's attempt to force his tribe onto reservations. Chief Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of U.S. policy toward Native Americans. WalkingStick's relief paintings use a very dense acrylic-and-wax paint mixture applied with her fingers, a painting knife, and a razor blade to create surface lines and forms.

WalkingStick's work centers on issues of Native American heritage, the balance between land and space, and the relationship between the physical and spiritual selves. Her many accomplishments include being the first Native American artist listed in Janson's definitive work, The History of Art, and numerous solo and group shows.

Native American contemporary fine art theory and practice was established through the efforts of Native artists and educators George Morrison (1919­2000; Grand Portage Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe) and Allan Houser (1914­1994; Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache). These Native artists, who were influenced by European modernism and American art movements, were originally rejected as "inauthentic" by mainstream art dealers and institutions. The artists in "CONTINUUM" employ contemporary art techniques to address current aesthetic, cultural, social and political issues.

The exhibition series is a prelude to an exhibition of Morrison's and Houser's work, which will be included in the inaugural exhibitions of the National Museum of the American Indian's new museum on the National Mall, scheduled to open in fall 2004.

CONTINUUM: 12 Artists has been organized for the National Museum of the American Indian by Truman Lowe, curator of contemporary art, and Anya Montiel, curatorial research assistant for contemporary art.

The other exhibitions in the series are (dates to be confirmed):

Joe Feddersen
Aug. 2­Oct. 26, 2003
Harry Fonseca
Aug. 16­Nov. 9, 2003
Richard Ray Whitman
Nov. 8, 2003­Feb. 1, 2004
Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds
Nov. 22, 2003­Feb. 15, 2004
Nora Naranjo-Morse
Feb. 14- May 9, 2004
George Longfish
Feb. 28­May 23, 2004
Shelley Niro
May 22­Aug. 15, 2004
Judith Lowry
June 5­Aug. 29, 2004
Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith
Aug. 28- Nov. 28, 2004
Marie Watt
Sept. 11­Nov. 28, 2004

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