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Paving New Paths Through Innovation in Native Art

February 28th, 2022

Native Group Exhibition Featuring Chris Pappan, Starr Hardridge, Frank Buffalo Hyde, and Ryan Singer

February 25 – March 12, 2022

“Crossroads,” a nod to the distinct regions that each artist hails from, the individual style they each work in, and the intersection at which they all come together; “Crossroads” is what is fresh in Native Art. Each artist expresses their Native American heritage with stunning visuals:

Chris Pappan—who is of Kaw, Osage, and Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux heritage—uses mixed media to create contemporary ledger art that pushes established boundaries explored previously with this medium. Based in Chicago, Pappan explores what it means to be a Native American in today’s world. Alaka Wali, curator at the Field Museum in Chicago where Chris has exhibited his work, says Pappan’s pieces “are at once beautiful works of art and brilliant commentaries on the political and cultural treatment of Native peoples.” Pappan is not only skilled in the art of portraiture, but also in the art of story-telling.

Starr Hardridge, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, was raised throughout central Oklahoma. His paintings are influenced by pointillism as well as southeastern woodland beadwork. Hardridge is known for his colorful, geometric compositions and the miniscule dots of paint that closely resemble beadwork. Hardridge is equally at home using this pointillist technique to paint stunningly real portraiture; subject matter that he has now embraced for the last seven years. A major theme for Hardridge is the struggle for balance within the natural world.

Popular culture and observations from life inform the artwork of Frank Buffalo Hyde. Painting is his opportunity to comment on what he sees and experiences, to call out stereotypes, and commenting what is wrong in the world, simply by putting it in front of our noses. His bold,  saturated canvases might depict traditional Native Dances juxtaposed with an unseen viewer filming or photgraphing through an iphone, a way in which most young people experience everything now, through the lens of their phones; a celebratory and pop realist painting of the Washington Redskins football team, who recently changed their names; or large scale paintings of bison burgers that sandwich illustrations of an actual buffalo between a bun with enough lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles to please. Hyde shows us what is relevant, what is important to him. Frank Buffalo Hyde was born in Santa Fe and then raised on the Onandaga reservation.

Ryan Singer further adds to this dynamic grouping of artists with his pop realist portrait paintings of Native Americans, or his Star Wars themed paintings that weave Native culture and childhood memories into the familiar narrative and character cast. Singer is largely informed by popular culture and science fiction. His work is included in the Indigenous Futurism Movement. Singer is Navajo, is working on finishing his fine art degree, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pappan, Hardridge, Hyde, and Singer have each found unique and effective ways to express their personal and universal truths. Some of their works can be found in museums and private collections across the United States. Each Artist has a lot to offer the viewer-- Do not miss an opportunity to experience these artists coming together with new creations at Blue Rain Gallery!


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