On Sunday I saw this Yup’ik mask from the early 1900’s, which is part of the Peabody Essex Museum‘s current exhibit of new and old Native American art. The arrow in the drawing points to the disks extending off the face that are supposed to represent the breath rising to the surface of water in the form of bubbles.
I’ve mentioned Rick Bartow before. He’s a contemporary artist living on the N.W. coast whose work astonishes. This sculpture was LARGE… 84 inches long. It was powerfully compelling, and I was both surprised and not surprised to discover that he had made it.
Titled, “From Nothing Coyote Creates Himself”, this piece resulted from the artist ‘following the voice of the wood,’ per traditional methods. I appreciate what he says here:
“Drawing is an attempt to exorcise the demons that have made me strange to myself. My work has never stopped being therapy. I have drawn myself sane.”
(quoted from the show’s catalog – “Shapeshifting – Transformations in Native American Art”).
One of my other favorite objects was a beautiful coat stitched from mammal intestines and esophagus. It was translucent, like a sheer organza, and embellished with the tiniest stitches, all the more impressive for being stitched with sinew and grasses!