Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Julie Buffalohead (The Animals Within, in Art)

Good dreams last night--I woke up thinking of the animals toys--How to work with them...? What are they to me, anyway?

Looking this morning for the answer to Cathy's question on my last post of the fashion art shoes
Where do Native artists get their porcupine quills? 
––[road kill is a common source; Sherman Alexie mentions his artist mother stopping for a dead porcupine lying on the side of the road, in his new book, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me]––
I came across the work of local painter Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma), whose spirited animals seem to me like toys (or some are actual toys--e.g., in this series), in the sense of the quote I posted about toys as numinous.

I love Buffalohead's paintings and they inspire me to work more closely with my animal toys...

Take a look at a couple:

Above: "The Old Soul"
2010, mixed media on paper
20 x 30 inches (50.8 x 76.2 cm)

ABOVE: "Be Careful What You Wish For"
June 2017 cover of Minnesota Women's Press
ABOVE: "The Lone Ranger Rides Again"
2012, mixed media on paper, 20 x 30 inches

"My work has focused thematically upon describing a cultural experience, an Indian experience, through a personal language which is a kind of iconography. My imagery is very personal, but also provocative. I use storytelling in a specific way to reference figures with traditional significance, where spirit and identity intermingle in nonlinear and interwoven narrative form.
"These narratives are evocative of a range of concerns I have from historical, political, cultural, as well as personal history, motherhood and childhood. Animals figure prominently in my work.

"The characters occupy a fictional territory that seems both out of place and time. They are not fairy tales, nor wholly products of fantasy, in the sense that they aren’t simply just invented. In many ways the characterizations are akin to staged facsimiles presenting specific archetypal or oppositional personalities, perhaps, in a way, as a dramatist would.

"It is common in Native stories and imagery to find polymorphic beings. This figuration in masks, pottery, and dress manifests as a taking of the animal spirit to protect, to defeat, or as a didactic force.
"Wielding mythic power to cope with the perils of human experience is a central concept in the work. Tapping into the animal within is a way to connect to some of the mysterious, impossible questions of daily life."


Frex said...

One more link:
"Artist Julie Buffalohead uses animals to tell unsettling stories"

Bink said...

I remember noticing her work before and liking it. Good inspiration for you and your animals artistic future.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting artist. So glad the answer was road kill, but sad that there is road kill.