south dakota

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Oscar Howe Gallery at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.  The current exhibition, Dance of the Warrior, included highly stylized images of horses, warriors and spirits rendered in pure-flat shapes of color punctuated by fluid-dashed marks.  There were some tempera paintings and a wonderful drawing on display - but for the most part the work was done in casein paint.  Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed in the gallery.  So here are some links to the gallery and to Howe's Wikipedia entry where you'll be able to see some representative images of his work.

My favorite piece of the day was "War Dancer."  It was the only purely abstract painting in the show.  The colors, the intimate size and the lyrical nature of the shapes as they interacted with one another intrigued me.  As with the others, it had both an atomic feel and a primal vibe.  The negative space all in a velvety-matte black was perhaps what first drew me to this little gem.  Deep space cradling dancing-luminous shapes made for a sweet take-home memory.

This morning I woke up and made this little painting of a cow creamer - no doubt inspired by my trek to South Dakota.

Creamer on Black; casein on mounted paper; 10" x 8"; Mary Nagel Klein

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