Friday, May 13, 2016
When I was at the Phoenix Art Museum a couple of weeks ago I saw an exhibit called Super Indian and I was introduced to an artist I had not heard of before, Fritz Scholder. He was a Native American artist who became one to the first to be recognized for his contributions to contemporary art. He challenged the cultural stereotypes of American Indians through works that were bold, colorful and uniquely abstract.
The description for this painting, his first in this series reads:
"When Scholder moved to Santa Fe in 1964 to teach art to Native American students at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he vowed never to paint and Indian. Three years later he broke that vow and painted Indian No. 1 (left) as an experiment in how to depict Indian imagery in a new way."
Scholder and his students looked at historic photographs of Native Americans for inspiration. This one was inspired by a photo from an Arikara Medicine Ceremony.
This one is titled American Portrait with One Eye. It was done in 1975, eight years after he started his abstract series.
This one is called End of the Trail and was painted in 1970.
I enjoyed seeing these paintings and learning about this man. I can certainly see the influence he's had when I peruse the local galleries where Native American Art is shown.