Through the theme of Utopian Imagination, the trilogy of exhibitions in the gallery's inaugural year create a trajectory toward a more just future. The first exhibition, Perilous Bodies (March 4 - May 11, 2019), examined injustice through the intersecting lens of violence, race, gender, ethnicity, and class. Radical Love responds to the first show by offering love as the answer to a world in peril.
Love, in the context of this exhibition, is defined by a commitment to the spiritual growth and interconnectedness of the individual, their community, and stewardship of the planet. Guided by the powerful words of bell hooks, “Were we all seeing more images of loving human interaction, it would undoubtedly have a positive impact on our lives.” The works in Radical Love are grounded in ideas of devotion, abundance, and beauty; here, otherness and marginality is celebrated, adorned, and revered.
Women have long been the creative force behind Native American art. Presented in close cooperation with top Native women artists and scholars, this first major exhibition of artwork by Native women celebrates the achievements of over 115 artists from the United States and Canada spanning over 1,000 years. Their triumphs—from pottery, textiles, and painting, to photographic portraits, to a gleaming El Camino—show astonishing innovation and technical mastery.
LIT: The Work of Rose B. Simpson will be the first major solo exhibition to highlight the artistic career of mixed-media artist Rose B. Simpson (born 1983), who is descended from the pueblo of Santa Clara. The exhibition will run from November 4, 2018 through October 6, 2019, in the Klah Gallery of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
LIT: The Work of Rose B. Simpson will feature new and retrospective work including life-size clay and mixed-media sculptures, clay faces, and monumental figures. The daughter of renowned sculptor Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) and metal artist Patrick Simpson, Simpson uses the traditional medium of clay, combined with welded steel and leather. Textured clay surfaces and androgynous subjects appear throughout Simpson’s work. A range of sculptural styles and sizes reflect the trajectory of Simpson’s training from her early years at the Institute of American Indian Arts to her graduate studies at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The exhibition illuminates the self-reflective nature of Simpson’s powerful sculptures. Visitors will see a range of self-portraits that represent the artist at important stages in her life, including her most recent step into motherhood. In the featured sculptural works, Simpson employs a range of elements to capture her interests such as automotive engine parts, a Pueblo dance dress, and armor-like wearable art. The warrior-like figures in Simpson’s pivotal series, Directed, exemplify her diverse skill set and interest in post-apocalyptic themes.
Documentary photos of Simpson working in her studio will accompany a video made especially for the exhibition to underscore Simpson’s accomplishments across artistic media. An illustrated catalog with essays by Native American scholars will accompany the exhibition.