Sonya Kelliher-Combs and Nadia Myre at NMAI’s Heye Center in NYC

Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Common Thread, 2010, reindeer and sheep rawhide. On display at the Heye Center, New York City

There is a review of the exhibition “Hide: Skin as Material and Metaphor,” published in American Craft Magazine – and it’s worth reading. I am familiar with the work of both artists and would love to go see the exhibition… but it’s all the way in NYC and I’m all the way on the left coast. I first saw Kelliher-Combs work when she spoke at the Native American Art Studies conference in Alaska a couple years ago. Some of her work was in an exhibition at a local gallery there in Fairbanks, so I made a visit to see the work in person. It definitely looks better in person than in photographs. To see more of Nadia Myre’s work, here is a link to the artist’s website:

Here is an extended quote from the exhibition review:

“Animal skins-hides-have played an important role in traditional Native American culture and identity, and the National Museum of the American Indian has regularly exhibited such venerable objects as beaded deerskin garments and paintings on buffalo hide. But this two-part exhibition, curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby, is not about tradition. Contemporary artists who are known in the art world but retain strong ties to their Native communities were invited to address skin as an actual art material and as a vehicle for comments on a range of social issues. The first part highlights two makers known for multimedia work who find in skin or its representation a medium for revealing personal statements in ways that are simultaneously sophisticated and primal.

Alaskan-born Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Inupiaq/Athabascan) combines organic and synthetic materials in works that convey intimacy in their tactility, yet are baffling in their hidden meanings.

Unlike Kelliher-Combs, Nadia Myre (Anishinaabe), an artist living in Montreal, does not use organic materials to comment on skin. Her preoccupation is scars, and more than half of her part of the exhibit is devoted to The Scar Project, a communal work. Since 2005, Myre has held workshops in which she provides participants with 10-inch-square canvases and invites them to render their own scars-bodily or mental-by cutting and “suturing” the raw cloth. The 240 canvases (out of some 500 in the project) are arranged on both sides of a large gallery.”

To read the entire review by Beverly Sanders, please click HERE

 The exhibition is on display until August 1st. Beginning September 1st, the theme of hide continues with a selection of photographs titled “Showing Skin” and work by Michael Belmore. For more info about the exhibition CLICK HERE. 

For information on visiting the George Gustave Heye Center, National Museum of the American Indian, located at One Bowling Green in New York City, CLICK HERE.

All links open in a new window.

By the way, anybody in NYC seen this show? What do you think?

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