For those who truly appreciate what Contemporary Native American art is often trying to tell us, the paintings of Stan Natchez are a pinnacle of education. As an artist Natchez speaks with a present voice rich with perspective. On 1st Friday, from 5–8 p.m., “Stan Natchez: Icons and Identity” opens to unveil major works from the internationally exhibited artist whose paintings are held in many museum collections. Natchez presents what will undoubtedly be a thought-provoking Artist Talk at 6:15 p.m. that evening.
In his mixed media paintings Stan Natchez places Native American history in context with the wider world; each canvas asks that we consider familiar icons and elements from a new perspective, to look deeper into potentially entrenched ideas and to be willing to learn. The showpiece of the exhibition is “Guernica to Wounded Knee,” a 48” x 60” modern masterwork that echoes an even larger, similar work by Stan Natchez held at the Boston Fine Arts Museum.
In both paintings Pablo Picasso's iconic and horrific depiction of the Spanish Civil War is intricately and expertly married with another instance of a government attacking its own people: the notorious 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. However, these are not mere history lessons; emblems of current day oil companies bring pipelines into the conversation. All of the paintings' iconography along with their style asks us to look deeper into the links of the two atrocities as well as the history that provoked each and the history that brought us to continuing conflicts today.
While many of Natchez's paintings overtly borrow from pop art, pop culture and all that that oeuvre represents, many other works simultaneously or solely are depicted in a traditional narrative style of near two-dimensional imagery. Lithography, gold leaf and beadwork by the artist may be present in a painting. In perhaps his most traditional work, the exhibition will feature a dramatic 4-feet by 6-feet painting of a vintage Yei patterned Navajo rug. Smaller works, including a diptych and a quatriptych will also be unveiled.
This is an exhibition opening not to be missed and all are welcome to attend! “Stan Natchez: Icons and Identity” runs through October 21.