Alex Jacobs
Kenojuak Ashevak, 'Iqalutsiavak' ('Beautiful Fish'), stonecut & stencil on kozo paper, 2005

'ARTiculations in Print' Takes Over Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Alex Jacobs

On Saturday, January 25, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe opened seven new exhibitions, all focused on printmaking of one kind or another -- effectively dedicating the entire building to this diverse and fertile collection of media. The shows run through July 31. ICTMN's Santa Fe correspondent Alex Jacobs weighs in with a look at all of it.

Kenojuak Ashevak

The legendary Inuk artist Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) was from Cape Dorset, where she became a founding member of Kinngait Studios in 1959, the artistic branch of the West Baffin Island Eskimo Cooperative. She was already known for sealskin applique clothing and beadwork, when she started drawing. Since then Kenojuak has won almost every award and honor Canada can bestow, an NFB documentary was made of her life and she was famous for the iconic Enchanted Owl print now seen everywhere. The works are from the Edward J. Guarino Collection and highlight Ashevak’s wide diversity of print techniques, materials and bold graphic style. She was known for using a single line from start to finish, no sketchpad or eraser.

Kenojuak Ashevak, 'Peaceful Repose' -- photo courtesy MoCNA.

Crow's Shadow Institute of Arts Collection

Kenojuak’s bold graphic designs are balanced by the other main gallery exhibit, a select portfolio of prints over the last 20 years since the founding of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton, Oregon. James Lavadour founded Crow’s Shadow where emerging artists work with established master printers over two-week residencies. Past Crow's Shadow artists include Truman Lowe, Edgar Heap-of-Birds, James Luna, Joe Fedderson, Kay Walkingstick.

Jim Denomie, 'Untruthful' -- photo by Alex Jacobs.

This group of select prints comes from some of them plus Melanie Yazzie, Jim Denomie, Wendy Red Star, John Federov, Larry McNeil, Jeffrey Gibson, Gerald McMasters, Marie Watt, Rick Bartow, Frank LaPena, Vanessa Enos, Whitney Minthorn, Lillian Pitt, Phillip John Charette, Corwin Claremont, George Flett, Sara Siestreem and some youth printmakers too. Volunteers, board members, interns keep the Institute going, community and tribal interaction is supportive, sales of editions sustain the cooperative. The first week is spent making plates, second devoted to color trial proofs, the artist hopes to leave with an approval to print on finished work. The prints at MoCNA are varied in size, color, texture, intensity, drama and humor.

Wendy Red Star, 'enit' -- photo courtesy MoCNA.


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Submitted by alexjacobs on
John Hitchcock's contact info is, and thanks. AJ