From Jan. 4 through Feb. 14,
Adobe Gallery showcases a number of paintings by Navajo artist Quincy
Tahoma’s work is engaging. In the words of the gallery: “Tahoma painted a wide variety of subject matter but was perhaps known for his dynamic action filled paintings.”
This action-filled element in Tahoma’s work can be felt in all of the paintings that are on display. In one painting, titled “The Sheep Herder’s Pups,” a Navajo boy is bending over, trying to get the attention of his dog. One hand rests on his thigh, while the other is stretched outward with the finger curled––implying that he’s trying to get the dog to “come here.” Strangely, the quiet action of this particular painting is equally as engaging as the explosive action of the buffalo hunt in the image shown.
Two women––Charnell Havens and Vera Marie Badertscher––took their fascination with Tahoma’s life and work several steps further and wrote the first biography of the artist, Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. They asked important questions: “Where did he learn to paint? What and who were the major influences on his art?” The research required to write the book took them over a decade to gather.
It’s been said that the art is more important than the artist, but sometimes, it’s hard to refrain from wanting to learn more about who the person was who produced the work. “During most of his life, he experienced misfortune, and died at the age of 39.” The life of this Navajo artist is reflected in his work: turbulent, shrouded in mystery.