Crow's Shadow Institute for the Arts
August 4 - October 27, 2023
ABOUT THE SHOW
All of the work in this exhibition has been created in the last three years by eight artist-in-residents at Crow's Shadow.
Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts is located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon, and was founded by influential painter and printmaker James Lavadour (Walla Walla, b. 1951). From the beginning, Crow’s Shadow’s mission is “to provide a creative conduit for education, social, and economic opportunities for Native Americans through artistic development.” The Institute has grown to be one of the foremost printmaking ateliers in the country, attracting Native and non-Native artists from around the world to make prints under the guidance of its resident Master Printer. For this body of prints, the Master Printer is Judith Baumann. Works created at Crow’s Shadow can be found in many prominent private and public collections. The prints on view are a small sampling of the skilled workmanship and creativity being promoted and fostered by this critical Pacific Northwest institution.
ABOUT THE ARTIST(S)
Fox Spears - Fox Spears (Karuk) is an esteemed artist whose captivating works explore the intersection of traditional and contemporary Native American art forms. Born and raised in the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeastern Oregon, Spears draws upon his rich cultural heritage to create thought-provoking and visually stunning pieces. Deeply influenced by his ancestral traditions, Spears seamlessly weaves together elements of indigenous storytelling, symbolism, and craftsmanship with modern artistic techniques. His artworks often feature vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and remarkable attention to detail, demonstrating his exceptional skill and dedication to his craft. Spears reinterprets traditional Karuk basketry designs into prints, paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as his compositions reference geometric, organic, and landscape elements.
Spears studied fine arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he explored a wide range of mediums and techniques. This educational foundation provided him with a strong artistic framework, which he has since built upon with his own unique style and perspective. Beyond his artistic endeavors, Spears is also deeply committed to community engagement and passing on his knowledge to the next generation. He has served as a mentor and teacher, working closely with aspiring artists to foster creativity and cultural preservation. Through his workshops and outreach programs, he has inspired countless individuals to embrace their own heritage and express themselves through art. Spears’ art is not only visually captivating but also carries a profound narrative and social commentary. He skillfully addresses issues of identity, history, and environmental stewardship, using his platform to bring awareness to the challenges faced by indigenous communities and the need for cultural revitalization. Spears’ creation and presence of art is an inherent act of resistance against colonial assimilation, as the intention of his art is to “thank and honor his ancestors, to acknowledge and heal historical trauma, and to help build new Indigenous futures."
Ralph Pugay - Ralph Pugay is a critically acclaimed artist whose thought-provoking and humorous works challenge societal norms and explore the complexities of contemporary life. Born and raised in Southeast Portland, Oregon, Pugay's art reflects his keen observations of the world around him, infused with wit, irony, and a touch of the absurd. Pugay's artistic journey began with a strong foundation in traditional painting techniques. He earned an MFA in Contemporary Art Practice and a BA in Studio Art, both from Portland State University, where he honed his skills in figure painting and landscape. However, it was through his experimentation and exploration of unconventional materials and concepts that Pugay found his distinctive artistic voice.
Drawing inspiration from popular culture, current events, and personal experiences, Pugay's artworks often incorporate a playful and satirical approach. His paintings feature vibrant colors, bold compositions, and exaggerated figures, creating visually engaging narratives that challenge viewers to question their assumptions and perceptions. One of the recurring themes in Pugay's art is the exploration of cultural identity, particularly through the lens of his Filipino-American heritage. He uses humor and satire to navigate complex issues of race, ethnicity, and the immigrant experience. Through his work, Pugay invites viewers to examine their own prejudices and biases while fostering dialogue and empathy. Pugay's innovative approach to art has garnered significant recognition and accolades. His works have been exhibited in prominent galleries and museums across the United States, including the Portland Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Schneider Museum of Art. He has also been honored with prestigious awards, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant and the Betty Bowen Award. In addition to his artistic practice, Pugay is actively involved in the art community as an educator and mentor. He has taught at various institutions, including the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and he currently teaches Art at Portland State University, where he gained tenure in 2020.
Jeremy Okai Davis- Jeremy Okai Davis is an accomplished painter, as well as graphic designer and illustrator. Born in Charlotte, NC art was an outlet and a way of existing in the world from an early age for Davis. Davis’ passion for art inspired him to pursue formal education in the field. After graduating and receiving a BFA in Painting from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 2002, He spent 5 years in and around the city, then in 2007 he moved to Portland, Oregon to pursue a more professional practice. Within Davis’ work, color use and fidelity to his subjects make them feel alive, but without being too literal. He attempts to present portraits that invite further exploration and investigation, and sometimes the work features text and graphic elements. His goal is to make paintings that challenge the way we view people of color, and his current work is more focused on his personal life and the current cultural climate. Moreover, Davis’s profound talent and commitment to his craft have not gone unnoticed. He is currently represented by Elizabeth Leach Gallery, and his work has been shown nationally at the Studio Museum of Harlem, THIS Los Angeles , Wa Na Wari and The Rotating Art Program at Portland International Airport. Additionally, Davis's work resides in the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon's permanent collection
Natalie Ball- Natalie Ball is a contemporary artist known for her thought-provoking and multidisciplinary works. Born in 1982, she is a member of the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and has connections to the Klamath Tribes of Oregon. With a diverse artistic practice that encompasses sculpture, installation, painting, and printmaking, Ball explores themes of identity, representation, and history.
Ball's artworks challenge traditional art forms and subvert established narratives, seeking to dismantle stereotypes and reshape historical narratives. She combines traditional indigenous materials and techniques with contemporary mediums and approaches, blurring the boundaries between past and present. Ball's artistic journey began at a young age, influenced by her grandmother, who was an artist herself. This early exposure to art,, and her Native American background shaped Ball's creative development and served as the groundwork for her exploration of cultural narratives and indigenous experiences. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon, Ball earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale School of Art, as well as Masters in Maori Visual Arts from Massey University in New Zealand. Throughout her career, Ball has exhibited her work extensively in both national and international galleries, museums, and institutions. Her thought-provoking installations have garnered critical acclaim, earning her numerous awards and recognition within the art world. Her art has been showcased in solo exhibitions as well as included in group shows, highlighting her ability to engage in conversations surrounding Native American art and broader social issues. In addition to her artistic practice, Natalie Ball is an educator and a passionate advocate for indigenous rights and representation. Natalie Ball's artistic contributions transcend conventional boundaries, challenging viewers to confront their preconceived notions and engage with the complex issues surrounding Native American identity and history. With her distinctive voice and powerful visual language, Ball continues to make a significant impact on the contemporary art scene while amplifying the narratives of Native communities and fostering a greater understanding of indigenous cultures.
John Hitchcock - John Hitchcock is an Artist and Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Born in the United States, his artistic journey has been deeply influenced by his Chickasaw and Comanche heritage. With a profound commitment to social and cultural issues, Hitchcock's art serves as a powerful medium to explore themes of identity, displacement, and the historical narratives of Indigenous peoples. Throughout his career, Hitchcock has demonstrated an exceptional talent for printmaking, and his works often incorporate a combination of relief, and screen printing techniques. He has continuously pushed the boundaries of traditional printmaking, experimenting with new approaches and incorporating diverse materials into his artistic process. Hitchcock's art not only showcases technical brilliance but also reflects his strong advocacy for environmental and political concerns. He uses his creative voice to address the impact of colonization, cultural erasure, and the complexities of identity in modern society. His artwork consists of abstract representations, mythological hybrid creatures and military weaponry, which is influenced by his childhood memories and stories of growing up in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. One of the central themes in Hitchcock's oeuvre is the representation of crows, which hold significant cultural symbolism for many Indigenous communities. The crow, often present in his artworks, serves as a potent metaphor, representing the intersection of the human and natural worlds and carrying messages of cultural heritage and collective memory. Hitchcock's unique artistic vision and commitment to addressing social issues have earned him widespread recognition and numerous accolades. His artworks have been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across the United States and internationally, captivating audiences with their depth and thought-provoking narratives. Additionally Hitchcock has been the recipient of numerous awards such as the Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts and the Kellett Mid-Career Award at the University of Wisconsin. As an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he instills in his students the importance of using art as a means of fostering dialogue, advocating for change, and preserving cultural heritage. With his profound artistic exploration of identity, history, and activism, John Hitchcock continues to be a significant voice in contemporary art.
Jovencio de la Paz- Jovencio de la Paz is a highly accomplished contemporary artist, curator, and educator, who is known for his captivating printmaking artwork and his multidisciplinary approach to expression. De la Paz’s art is highly influenced by his cultural heritage and diverse background, which includes Filipino and Mexican roots. Throughout his artistic journey, de la Paz has explored the intersections of craft, fine art, and design, redefining the boundaries of textile art and pushing it into innovative and challenging directions. Drawing from his personal experiences and heritage, De La Paz’s artwork often centers on themes of migration, diaspora, identity, and belonging. He weaves narratives of displacement and cultural adaptation, inviting viewers to engage with the complexities of human experience and cultural diversity. Moreover, De La Paz has earned widespread recognition for his exceptional talent and contributions to the contemporary art scene. His artwork has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions in reputable galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, most recently at Vacation Gallery in New York, NY. In addition to his artistic practice, De La Paz is an esteemed educator, sharing his knowledge and passion for art with students at various institutions. He regularly teaches at schools of art, craft, and design throughout the country, such as the Ox Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan, the Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine, and the Arrowmont School of Craft in Tennessee. His involvement with Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts, an organization dedicated to supporting Native American artists, reflects his commitment to promoting cultural exchange and understanding through art. Through this collaboration, De La Paz has not only strengthened his artistic practice but also contributed to the wider artistic discourse on identity and cultural heritage.
James Lavadour - James Lavadour is an esteemed American contemporary artist celebrated for his extraordinary landscapes and abstract paintings that encapsulate the rugged beauty and profound essence of the Pacific Northwest. Born in Pendleton, Oregon, Lavadour's deep connection to the landscape of his homeland serves as the primary inspiration for his awe-inspiring body of work.
Yoonhee Choi -