Embarrassingly, I find that my knowledge of the visual arts leaves something to be desired. Sure, I know what I like seeing on my walls, or donning the pages of the blog, but other than the requisite courses at our fine institution, my education is lacking. I can wax poetic all day long about minuets or couplets or Capulets, but brush strokes or types of clay? No. I did not set out to be some sort of visual lunk, but here we are.
BUT! I really don't want to be a visual lunk! Therefore, I've been doing my damndest to not be the only jerk around who cannot tell a Bosch from a de Backer.
What? They both painted edenic images!? I can sing the entire Gershwin catalog! That's almost relevant! It at least makes me feel like less of an incompetent doofus!
I decided to start in the art to which I am most drawn--Native American art.
The rich turquoise jewelry, heavy silver accents, carved pottery, and sandy images of the Adobe tribes remind me of growing up. I loved sitting at my huge, hand-carved Dine' table, gazing upon rusty-colored plaster that seemed to hold secrets in its swirling patterns.
The art that is born of the stark mesas and harsh landscapes soothe my soul. There is a beauty in finding the harmony in broken history. The strength of character of the artists in the region is inspiring; from the beadwork shown by amá sání to the gritty modern art of the youth, there is something to appeal to everyone.
Lately, my heart has been utterly captured by young Dine' artist, Patrick Dean Hubbell. A recent graduate of Arizona State, (class of 2010) he has already shown dozens of times, and has made quite a splash in the art scene, as I'm told. (By people who know a ton more than I.) He works in many mediums, but his paintings are my personal favorite.
His series "Almost a Portrait" is a gorgeous series of "near portraits" or partial portraits done in red acrylic on canvas. To me, it feels like it could be a clay petroglyph in the New Mexico sun. The colors are perfect.
It almost feels like what Shepherd Fairey could have been, had he chosen to be less-commercial. Striking. Powerful. Original.