June 03, 2018

Representing Their World

By Raven Makes

Our two previous art shows and weekend exhibitions with Dine´ contemporary painter, Jason Parrish, Jemez Pueblo sculptor Cliff Fragua and Diverse and Traditional artist Leah Mata allowed viewers and art collectors a glimpse of unique artistic interpretations. These artists and their works reflect deep cultural, historical and traditional elements that invite viewers to consider how inherent ideas can be reshaped and interpreted in fresh and relevant ways.

Jason Parrish’s water-based paintings do more than simply depict the Diné world or tell an American Indian story. The very nature of his compositions, and use of particular, culturally appropriate Navajo iconography has fused the old with the new, thus allowing a glimpse into a beautiful culture unfamiliar to most.

The increasingly complex and even monumental sculptures of Cliff Fragua show a level of mastery of stone work, reflected in his ability to articulate potently elegant concepts of the natural and spiritual elements of his Pueblo world into his pieces. His interpretations imbue the viewer with a new appreciation and deep respect for the world that surrounds his art and vision.

Old patterns and designs may be reshaped and modified to incorporate what the world offers today, and Leah Mata’s artistic expressions in regalia and jewelry exemplify the traditional expertise of her Chumash people. Indigenous artists continue to nurture a deeply personal relationship to thousands of years of environmental and natural connections to their materials, be they cedar, animal or bird parts, stones, shells, roots, or clay. 

We look forward to our next shows and three day exhibitions, and invite you to see what guides and inspires our Native American artists and jewelers. Their combinations of materials, designs and ideas bring joy, deep appreciation and recognition in the on-going transformation of the First Americans’ cultural world.