New exhibit explores Native American traditional/contemporary crossroads

“Why not now?” Peyton Wright owner John Wright Schaefer responds when asked why present The Indigenous Modern Intersection now.

The exhibit, opening this Friday at the downtown gallery, compiles striking pieces from Fritz Scholder, TC Cannon, John Nieto and Kevin Red Star.

The show is grounded in an exploration by Native American artists that surged during the 1960s—a simultaneous time of war and space exploration—revolving around the concepts of oppression, misconception and a reaffirmation of cultural heritage. The push brought with it the birth of a new style at the intersection of modern and traditional, one that didn't aim to present an idealized view of tribal life, but rather held up a mirror to contemporary tropes.

"They are the tracks in the snow in the path behind them," Wright Schaefer says about the foursome of artists that comprise the exhibit.

Scholder, whose piece "Indian Portrait (Mohawk), 1975" can be seen at left, was an advanced painting and contemporary art history instructor during the early days of the Institute of American Indian Arts. Among his laundry list of accolades is winning a NM Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and being named a Salon d'Automne lifetime member. Scholder's student at IAIA, Cannon, is also responsible for iconic imagery. Shortly after graduating, he enlisted in the Army and served as a paratrooper in Vietnam. Still stationed, he was included in a traveling exhibition that put him on the map. Sadly, he perished in a car accident at the age of 31, five months before his first solo show.

The gallerist is quick to point out the four artists' long-term impact, asserting, "in several disciplines for regional and national artists, they are the grass under their feet so to speak."

The Indigenous Modernist Intersection
5-7 pm Friday, Aug. 7.
Peyton Wright Gallery
237 E Palace Ave.,

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.