japonisme: japonisme in the land of the pueblo (etc.), fin

18 March 2008

japonisme in the land of the pueblo (etc.), fin

so much has been left out of this series. there's been no mention of genocide or theft, though those are surely in the background when we mention national parks, for example.

we haven't talked about the marginalization of nations who were relegated to the position of being 'bad guys' in the 'westerns' which had started filming in 1903.

what we have talked about was beauty, and cultural transference, and best intentions, and, sometimes, best results.

we have talked about many of the similarities between the paintings from the first half of the 20th century done by american indians to those edo era prints from japan: outlines, areas of flat color, image simplification.

we haven't mentioned the effects on their art of giving new art materials to the native tribe members; i missed commenting on the fact that in none of the traditional indian paintings do we see 'close-ups'; like fred astaire the indians would only dance when their whole body showed.

that somehow the grimaces, the revealed faces, that we see in the kabuki actor portraits are there in the work of the indians painting today. that many of them retain some of these elements we've discussed, that they are, in my opinion, some of the most extraordinarily gifted artists working today. that, by and large, the work from the native artists is seen as genre painting, and is ignored in the major international art universe.

oscar howe was a yanktonai indian and student at the santa fe studio school. a letter he wrote in 1958 illustrated, all too clearly, one of the effects this marginalization:

"Are we to be held back forever with one phase of Indian painting that is the most common way? Are we to be herded like a bunch of sheep, with no right for individualism, dictated to as the Indian has always been, put on reservations and treated like a child and only the White Man know what is best for him... but one could easily turn to become a social protest painter. I only hope the Art World will not be one more contributor to holding us in chains."

see some of rick bartow's gorgeous work here and here. see fritz scholder here or here. there's so much online, in museums around the country, and here.....

i've surely left out much, but i've learned a lot doing this. i hope it's been interesting for you. i guess it's like this whenever you undertake to learn something new: what you end up with are tears of sadness and a heart filled with wonder.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Roxana Ghita said...

I am very grateful for this series also. It is amazing to look at these paintings confronted with the Japanese ones, like in a mirror. And so much to learn for me, again...
Wouldn't you consider a story about tea? :-) I searched through the archives but couldn't find anything.

19 March, 2008 02:25  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you so much, roxie! that means a lot. and thanks to for a suggestion. i love suggestions.

what about tea?

19 March, 2008 08:59  
Blogger harlequinpan said...

Oh i love Rick Bartow's works!

It's amazing!!!you are really a prophet, you know what confusion i am going to face, the information you provided can always solve the problem i met.amazing!!

20 March, 2008 03:38  
Blogger Roxana Ghita said...

I don't know, but I think I'd love to read a series about tea, tea ceremony etc. made in lotusland :-) It's all very fascinating stuff.

20 March, 2008 03:42  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

harlequinpan--wow! that is both interesting and cool. it's very exciting to me that you both know and love rick bartow's work.

i just saw one of his bird scuptures online that blew me away but when i just tried to find it again i couldn't, so i can't show you, but there's so much out there.

how did you learn about his work? there used to me an american indian art gallery in san francisco (may still be there) and i went to an excibit there and saw so many of these artists.

and roxana--i have an idea :^)

20 March, 2008 13:32  
Blogger harlequinpan said...

Once upon a time ......, i try to find some information about "King Lear", and then i saw a poster which painted by Rick Bartow, it's very attractive, further inquire about him,i know he is a member of brandywine workshop.

i am not sure the sculpture of Rick Bartow you mentioned,but here have some
http://www.froelickgallery.com/Artist-Detail.cfm?ArtistsID=227
http://www.poahonline.org/bio_bartow.html
http://www.poahonline.org/documentaries.html

21 March, 2008 02:53  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

fascinating! first, i didn't know about the brandywine workshop, so thank you for telling me about that!

i had already checked the froelick gallery and it wasn't there, but i didn't know about the poah gallery, and i know one of the other artists featured: betty laduke!

back when i was publishing a magazine i would feature one artist per issue, so she was featured throughout one issue. and i have one of her prints on my kitchen wall--we traded--she came to town, and took a lot of copies of her issue, and gave me a print!

in fact, i just went and took a photo of it and posted it on flickr and you can see it here.

21 March, 2008 23:34  
Blogger giuseppe said...

i love this textural quality & feeling of emotion in the lines and splatters in the western (?) portraits. interesting comparison you have for this post.. a little wabi-sabi :D

btw, I didn't realise I already held the answer to the question I posed for you in my blog LoL. Aesthetics as well as technology did make its way to the east yes (& perhaps vice versa perhaps? This is the only part I don't know about).

the super hint: Silk trade and Silk route ;)

24 March, 2008 01:30  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

good description of the paintings--i think they're powerful too, so you have made me more conscious of why.

yes, well i know certain manufacturing was imported by japan from the west, but, well like silk, for example, i'm pretty sure they had silk in france long before the 1800s so i don't know about that....

24 March, 2008 08:51  

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