TURQUOISE TORTOISE GALLERY CELEBRATES
1st Friday Gallery Tour
"Stan Natchez: Icons Upended"
Artist Reception Friday, January 2, 2015, 5-8 PM
Artist Talk with Q & A, 6 PM
"Bringing Horses - Wedding Scene (diptych)" by Stan Natchez, each side, 10"h x 8"w (total width 16"), mixed media on canvas, includes hand-beading and background of actual U.S. currency.
Stan Natchez has a prestigious pedigree that began in the late 1980s at his first gallery show, with legendary art dealer Elaine Horwitch. The Santa Fe exhibition sold out giving ringing endorsement to the singular style of Natchez’s provocative work. The artist’s standing has only grown in the succeeding decades; his 2012 exhibition, “Indian without Reservation” at the Booth Western Art Museum met with great success.
Natchez’s paintings make visual statements both varied and profound. Often with the vivid colors and strong references of Pop Art, Natchez captures the iconography so deeply embedded in our American psyche. Then he upends it. What one could call “Native Americana” becomes as strong a statement as our traditional “Americana.”
Familiar icons such as an Indian warrior on a spotted pony now appear riding across a field of actual U.S. currency. Even images of Andy Warhol’s soup cans become a backdrop, lying together to form an American flag, overlaid now with an iconic head-dressed warrior.
And therein lays the interplay that Natchez asks viewers to consider. In his traditional two-dimensional “ledger art” style, Natchez pays homage to his ancestors who, when they painted, did so on buffalo hides – to them the currency of their times, traded often. And so today, our literal currency is often a backdrop for Natchez. On sheets of $1 bills, acquired from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., George Washington must now confront, from each bill he peers from, the legacy of the Native American presence in this land.
Natchez’s myriad details, woven together, leave viewers with rich tapestries to explore, creating as they go, conclusions individual to each viewer. As Natchez points out, “Just painting a portrait is not enough. I ask myself: How can I do more?” It is Natchez’s “more” that is so compelling.
“Stan Natchez: Icons Upended” runs through January 11. Stop by the opening to meet this gifted artist.
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