September 29, 2006

Collages tell tales

Native American ModernistSmith is herself a Modernist, closer maybe to the Pop directness of painter and jazz trumpeter Larry Rivers than to the pure abstraction of Jackson Pollock, but a Modernist all the same. Her work is layered with collage, drips and smears of color, but you can usually read their meanings pretty directly.

Smith likes to cut out cutesy commercial Indian stuff, like the label from "Chief Sleepy Eye Brand Eggs," or ridiculously boosterish headlines from reservation newspapers, and stick them into larger images she's painted based on traditional American symbols like the buffalo, the cowboy, or the coyote. This is mockery, but it isn't always just for laughs.

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