Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors

Mar 23, 2017 - Jul 16, 2017

Yellowstone Art Museum

401 North 27th Street
Billings, MT 59101

Time: Museum Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m; Thursday, Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; Closed Monday
Contact: 406-256-6804

Opening Reception: March 23, 5:30-7:30pm

Meet the artists and enjoy light hors d'oeuvres. Admission is free for Members or with regular paid museum admission.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is one of the U.S.’s finest indigenous talents. Coming of age when Abstract Expressionism with its white male tenor dominated, Smith pushed back and developed a strong personal vision forged from belonging to two marginalized groups by birth (female, Native American) and one by choice (non-urban). This timely and exciting exhibition will be the first solo exhibition of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s work in her native state of Montana in over a generation. In keeping with the YAM’s Montana Masters series goals, Smith is a mature, late-career artist with extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit. She mines her cross-cultural experience and Salish-Kootenai identity, and spans cultures with powerful, idiosyncratic results of high aesthetic caliber. The evolution of her lifelong investigations is a cornerstone of this exhibition. Few Native artists have worked with such alacrity and aesthetic success between cultures and art worlds. Smith has an international reputation with a strong, clear body of work; she has earned her leading standing among women artists and Native American artists while simultaneously aligning both of these often still marginalized groups more closely with the mainstream art world.

The YAM’s exhibition will examine themes that perennially recur in her work, including conflict, compassion, peace, the cycle of life, irony, and identity. Smith has always operated on a cusp—culturally, temporally, aesthetically, and from a gender perspective—which gives her work an attention-getting vitality, originality, and relevance. Her role in the shift toward deepening respect for Native American contemporary art in its own right has been significant. She describes herself as a “cultural arts worker;” she has credits as a curator, writer, speaker, and leader in the arts. Smith’s work is at once earthy, vibrant, sophisticated, and compassionate. Nature is often her impetus, a nature that includes human beings as but one player on the stage.

Her work is cross-cultural, exhibiting a marked preference for working in the grey zones. Smith’s visual language is vivid, layered, and symbolic, both questioning and creating American art history. Forms, colors, motifs, and texts spill across her surfaces like language on a page or a musical score for a culture’s epic story. The work demonstrates an eclectic, generous acceptance of influences from many sources.

Event Type: Exhibition