Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art
Nov 2, 2019 – Aug 2021
Main Building, Floor 3, Gallery 302, 304, 305, & 306
In the rich tradition of portraiture reflected in Northwest art, there is an exemplary range of individuals and styles of depiction. For this exhibition, the artist Storm Tharp was invited to help select works from the collection through his keen eyes as a fellow portraitist. As he combed through the collection, some themes in portraiture rose to the surface: the self-portrait, artists and friends, family, psychological space, and making present those who have been less recognized. For an artist, capturing a literal likeness is far less important than grasping the essence of a person or the moment in time. How artists in this collection have chosen to do this is remarkably varied, offering an alluring examination in itself. Across the themes and styles in this exhibition, it is evident that portraiture allows for a breadth of expressiveness, a scrutiny of the self, and the occasion to connect with those around us.
Curated by Storm Tharp in collaboration with Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art.
American, Klamath, and Modoc, born 1982
Acrylic, oil on vintage IAIA plastic banner
Courtesy of the artist, L2019.58.1
Predecessor Bundle is a painting created in a series of four vintage banners from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). This piece was created while in residence at IAIA in Santa Fe, NM for a month in 2017. In the studio there was a large collection of vintage student banners promoting student exhibitions dating back to the 1970's. This specific painting highlights a student work including the images of 1970's IAIA students featured in the imagery. I was not able to find details as to who these students were, but some of the current IAIA students I had studio visits knew some of the artists featured in this piece. I was responding to the location, palate, and energy of decades of American Indian artists who have gone through this unique programming and art institution. I felt steeped in legacy and the diversity of Indigenous artists who've created a historical art centre. This painting reflects the connection and inspiration artists give to one another, specifically how important it is to share marks, imagery, and memory of the artists who came before us, paving the way to our freedom of expression and creative mark making. This piece honors Indigenous artists as our visual predecessors, highlighting the fluidity Native artists bring between tradition and contemporary cultures.