Modern West Fine Art's Native Voices exhibition showcases work from our artists of American Indian descent including Shonto Begay, Nocona Burgess, Sheldon Harvey, Patrick Hubbell, Frank Buffalo Hyde, Petecia Le Fawnhawk, Courtney Leonard, Stanley Natchez, Ben Pease, and Kevin Red Star. While the artists showcased all have Native American ancestry, they come from vastly different tribes and explore distinct themes in their work.
Patrick Dean Hubbell is Diné (Navajo), originally from Navajo, New Mexico.
My work is an investigation of identity. I am drawn to the subtle questioning of this examination. I find inspiration in everything and I use various themes rooted in the correlation and the conflict of both my Native American and Contemporary mindset. I am equally interested in the abstract qualities of expression as well as representational imagery. Using nature, stories, philosophies, and abstract representations, I am able to depict this existence of identity. My work includes the use of bold and vibrant colors, combined with the integration of various elements of design, and a multitude of line quality and expressive mark making that often mimics what nature provides. These elements allow me to create my own aesthetic value in which reflect a personal experience of memory, physical, mental, and spiritual instances from life. The expressive personality of my work allows the viewer a momentary visual experience.
Nocona Burgess is from Lawton, Oklahoma, and is the great-great-grandson of Chief Quanah Parker.
Growing up, Nocona traveled and lived throughout the western United States including: Pennsylvania, Montana, Arizona and New Mexico. Taking after his father's love for the arts, he graduated with an Associate in Fine Arts from Institute of American Indian Arts. Nocona then furthered his education and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and received a Master's in Education from the University of New Mexico. Nocona is now internationally represented and continues to produce highly collectible works.
Kevin Red Star was born on the Crow Indian Reservation in Lodge Grass, Montana.
Indian culture has in the past been ignored to a great extent. It is for me, as well as for many other Indian artists, a rich source of creative expression. An intertwining of my Indian culture with contemporary art expression has given me a greater insight concerning my art. I hope to accomplish something for the American Indian and at the same time achieve personal satisfaction in a creative statement through my art.
Stanley Natchez is a Shoshone/Paiute artist born in Los Angeles and currently living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Natchez is known for beautifully crafting familiar objects with bold powerful colors that reflect onto traditional Native American culture. In his pantings he includes figures that inspire the feel of the Old West, such as Cowboys, Native Americans and western wildlife. To amplify the depth and visual appeal of his pieces he includes beadwork, gold-leaf and additional textures to his works of art.
Though his Native roots he developed his passion for the arts. Stan was trained in his cultures traditional dance which took him around the world. His extensive travels honed his artistic abilities ever farther as he strives to bring together modern techniques and philosophies into a balanced and complex harmony.
Frank Buffalo Hyde traces his heritage to the Nez Perce and Onondaga people.
When working on a piece, I tap into the universal mind. The collective unconsciousness of the 21st century. Drawing images from advertisement, movies, television, music and politics. Expressing observation, as well as knowledge through experience. Overlapping imagery to mimic the way the mind holds information: non linear and without separation. I don't need permission to make what I make. Never have...no artist should.
Courtney Leonard is from the Shinnecock Nation of Long Island New York.
Leonard is an artist and filmmaker who has contributed to the Offshore Art movement. Her current work embodies the multiple definitions of "breach," an exploration and documentation of historical ties to water, whale and material sustainability. Her artwork explores the evolution of language, image, and culture through mixed media.
"The word “breach” can be used in many different ways. Legally, “breach of contract” is the failure to observe an agreement. It can also mean a gap in a wall or barrier. Breach can also be used as a verb — especially when it comes to the act of a whale breaking the surface of water."
Shonto Begay was born in a hogan and raised on Diné land, known as the Navajo Nation.
From a very young age, I found excitement in recreating facets of my universe in varying images. I was inspired and surrounded by Hozho (beauty), including the sounds of songs and healing chants accompanied with stories from elders. I survived boarding school partly because of my spiritual strength and retreat into my drawings. I was always drawing. "Arts Save Lives" is my mantra. "Shonto" in Dine' translates to sunlight on water--a reflection of light on the canyon wall from the flowing water. My journey as an artist is to document my life and the world as I see through the lens I was born with through my Navajo experience while negotiating the modern. I have worn many hats in my life: shepherd, BIA Boarding School inmate, cowboy, National Park Service Ranger, Wildfire crew, professional boxing team support, film actor, author and artist.
Sheldon Harvey is a member of the Red Running Into Water Clan of the Diné Navajo Nation.
Sheldon Harvey's work depicts spirits from the Navajo creation myth and other ancient traditions in an effort to preserve his culture and the story of his people. His sculptures are made of wood, hand-stained and painted, with feather, yucca, and other natural material additions. Each signed piece embodies a piece of Navajo folklore and carries a piece of Sheldon’s creative essence.
Ben Pease was born and raised on the Crow Reservation.
Throughout my life, I've tried to soak up as much cultural, societal, and traditional aspects of what it means to be an aboriginal from North America in the whirlwind of today. I find my definition of being Native to this land as an interpersonal physical and spiritual relationship which is connected to all surrounding entities, beings, organisms, and geological features.
I have been practicing as a professional Native Artist for almost 4 years around the country. My work and process are currently evolving, for the more I learn, the less I know. I've recently crossed paths with self-appointed task of narrating the Aboriginal struggles and aesthetics through my personal interpretation. Whether my art focuses upon statements drawn from the aspect of an activist or based on cultural recording, I feel the need to educate and speak volumes. I will continue my transition from a so-called "Rez-Kid" to a culturally rich Contemporary Storyteller.
It is ridiculous to say Natives must abandon the assimilated lives we've grown used to living. What is plausible is that we must act with solidarity to recreate our migration away from traditional techniques and customs. Charging forward wielding solidarity to combat and recompense our losses in the assimilation of our ancestors appears to be a great goal. My journey as a storyteller stands as a continuation of my contribution to our contemporary cultures, as I will pass along the knowledge I earn. I am eager.
Petecia Le Fawnhawk is of Of Irish, German and Cherokee descent.
I have an overwhelming urge to pick up a certain stick, stone or bone because of some undefined beauty or unique character and take it home with me. I want to understand what it is that I find beautiful about these natural objects. Why do they hold such a place of honor? If I studied them closely enough, analyzing their structure and anatomy of existence out of context, and draw them big enough, I might understand my spiritual connection and relationship to something beyond them.
Stop by the gallery before September 12, 2017 to see Native Voices and our Contemporary Trading Post.