- New Dreaming
13 September 2007 to 27 October 2007
This exhibition is presented in association with the Bockley Gallery, Minnesota.
In the first exhibition of its kind in the UK, the October Gallery, in association with the Bockley Gallery Minnesota, presents new work by three leading artists of Ojibwe or ”Chippewa” ancestry who are not easily contained strictly within this context: Frank Big Bear, Andrea Carlson and Star Wallowing Bull. Together they triangulate on a spectrum of ideas that challenge and inspire their community, yet each have imagined beyond these issues into inner galaxies, personal and poignant.
Frank Big Bear's portraits, some shrieking and baring gnarled teeth others sitting thoughtfully, sink into fractured environments that seem to cut into his figurations. Like waking from a dream and piecing the memory of it together in a linear, sequential order we find that things overlap, intersecting in many places at the same time. Yet unlike recalling a dream to mind, the mere act causing us to loose details, Big Bear's work explodes into color and allows the viewer time to peer into his dream..
wilted seascapes also invite the viewer into an inner world littered with objects charged with political slogans hinting at an ironic sub-text. With hybridized imagery, Carlson picks at calcified views of authenticity and cultural purity which have dominated art discourse from time immemorial, demonstrating her interests in how objects are imbued with story and how they may become surrogates for cultural exchange.
At first glance, Star Wallowing Bull appears to be reciprocating decades of appropriation by Modernist artists of indigenous motifs with his utilization of American pop-culture. He seems to do this with Pop Art antics, but this suggests his work is made solely in retaliation of Modernism and “Coca-colonization.” Wallowing Bull's work doesn't lend itself to a simple didactic. These drawings are magically complicated both formally and conceptually, mixing humor and irony while citing disparate imagery. His adornment of entertainment icons, from the “All-American” Mickey Mouse to Yoda, in feather bonnets is amusingly sacrilegious to the stereotype. In a sense, Wallowing Bull is mixing up what many have tried to keep pure and romantic: the idea of a Pan-Indian identity existing in a separate world of its own, incognizant of and untouched by the world around.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks from the artists and guest lecturers, as well as two film screenings and a programme of schools workshops.
Frank Big Bear was born on White Earth Reservation, Minnesota, in 1953. Though largely self-taught, he also studied studio arts with George Morrison at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s, and has since exhibited widely. He has held a number of prestigious residencies, fellowships and public commissions, including the McKnight Foundation Fellowship in 1992, the Bush Foundation Fellowship in 1986 and the Jerome Foundation Fellowship in 1982.
Born in 1979, Andrea Carlson grew up in Minnesota, and is an MFA graduate of Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has been the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship (2007-2008), a Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Fellowship (2007), and a Minnesota State Arts Board, Cultural Community Partnership Grant, in collaboration with the Soo Visual Arts Center (2005). Carlson was awarded Best in Show, Ojibwe Art Exhibition at Leach Lake Tribal College, Bemidji, MN (2004), and has been widely reviewed. She lectures regularly at the University of Minnesota.
Star Wallowing Bull, son of Frank Big Bear, was born in Minneapolis in 1973. He has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including a Native American Fellowship from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in 2001, and the Juror’s Award from the Plains Art Museum in 2002. His work is held in public and private collections across the US. He also runs art and heritage workshops for children from the White Earth Reservation and the Madison Elementary School Fargo.