Her faux-naturalistic surroundings consist of cheap, mass-produced props, like inflatable animals and artificial turf.
To Wendy Red Star, whose Northeast Portland studio also her living room holds these objects, mash-ups of mass-market and Crow culture make perfect sense. Not crazy Michael Jackson, but Michael Jackson the artist: super-focused, totally in charge.
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Even so, Red Star is enjoying a moment her Michael moment? Red Star will stage 15 separate exhibitions this year, on the heels of a late Portland Art Museum solo show.
Red Star belongs to a generation of Native artists whose work can be funny, brash, and surreal. Definitely not. While poverty runs high, Crow land sits atop billions of tons of coal, making the tribe a major energy-politics player.
Her sister, a Korean adoptee, spoke fluent Crow aswhich Wendy herself did not. An uncle, Kevin Red Star, is a renowned painter.
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After she learned that a treaty once defined Bozeman as Crow territory, for example, she harvested pine poles from the reservation and built tipis across campus. She photographed herself in her bedroom, then used Photoshop to create fantastical interplanetary landscapes.
Inher marriage to a Portland artist brought Red Star to Oregon. Her 7-year-old daughter, Beatrice, now attends school in Portland, while Red Star works in Vancouver for a Native American arts nonprofit.
She thus does her art at night and on weekends. True to her craft-oriented training, she stocks her home studio with smoked and bleached animal hides—deer, elk, and pig.
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While much of her work begins with riffs on Crow garments, her final pieces tend to be kinetic combos of handmade and high concept, executed in diverse media. Clothes aside, Red Star unites political, comedic, even fantastical elements. For her Portland Art Museum show inshe revised photos of an delegation of Crow chiefs visiting Washington, DC, for treaty negotiations. You can give people their identities back.
3 thoughts on “painted ladies of the old west”
Medicine Crow had this weird, wicked sense of humor. Years later, he and some other guys killed some horse thieves.
He cut off one of their hands. The fact that this one guy had this bizarre sense of humor—I want people to know that. In March, Red Star went to see her work at the Met. Filed under.
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