CfNF is Back at EXPO CHICAGO 2023
April 13-16, 2023 at Navy Pier
Our booth will feature artists
HOLLY WILSON, JOHN HITCHCOCK, TOM JONES, and DAKOTA MACE
We will launch EXPO's panel discussion program with "Leading the Way: Women Indigenizing Institutions"
moderated by KATE BEANE and featuring DEBRA YEPA-PAPPAN, ANYA MONTIEL, and
2023 Featured Artists
Multi-media artist Holly Wilson creates figures as her storytellers, conveying stories of the sacred and the precious, capturing moments of our day, vulnerabilities, and strengths. The stories are, at one time, both representations of family history and personal experiences. Wilson’s work reaches a broad audience allowing the viewer to see their own personal connection.
She works in various media, including bronze, paint, encaustic, photography, and clay. These works have been exhibited since the early 1990s. Additionally, her works are in private, corporate, public, and museum collections nationally and internationally, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the C.N. Gorman Museum, The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Holly Wilson of the Delaware Nation, Lenape and Cherokee Nation is now based in Mustang, Oklahoma. In 2001, she graduated with an MFA in sculpture; in 1994, she earned an MA in ceramics from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas; she received a BFA in ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1992.
Narrative is central to my work. I am interested in stories—the stories of my parents, my ancestors, my family, my community. I am a storyteller; through my work, I weave together the threads of these various narratives to create a tapestry that tells stories that are sacred and precious, personal and universal, powerful and at times volatile. Telling them brings to life things sometimes kept secret, hidden, and not permitted to be said because they challenge the status quo or reveal realities that neither side wants said.
In a strategic trickster twist, I feature children, often masked, as a tool to bring the viewer into my story that on the surface seems benign or sweet but upon closer reflection addresses much deeper and challenging issues. Masks are multi-layered elements in my work. Simultaneously, they reference traditional Delaware and Cherokee stories that my mother told me as a child and symbolize transformation and obfuscation. Masks are a mechanism to hide or obscure our true intentions, acting as a wall between us and the world at times protecting us or others. They are also agents of transformation that allow one to become more than what they were, to become powerful or sometimes dangerous. The strategy is to subvert narrative expectations.
My work also addresses what lies beneath or in the shadows. Stories and narratives often have secrets lurking within. I am intrigued with the power of these “shadows” in our lives and how they haunt us or make us doubt our reality, at times even terrorizing us. I consciously incorporate shadows in my work by controlling the lighting and relationships of the figures, giving form to the secrets that linger in our lives. The secrets take form in my work as shadows that hang in and around the forms, shifting as the viewer’s position shifts much like how secrets take different forms sometimes benign and sometimes nefarious.
John Hitchcock is a Wisconsin-based artist and musician of Comanche, Kiowa, and Northern European descent. Raised in Oklahoma on Comanche Tribal lands, he draws on his personal history to create works that fuse frenetic abstraction with layered allusions to indigenous traditions. He earned his MFA in printmaking and photography at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and received his BFA from Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma. He has been the recipient of The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant, New York; Jerome Foundation Grant, Minnesota; the Creative Arts Award and Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin. He is currently an Artist and the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches screenprinting, relief cut, and installation art.
Hitchcock current body of works on paper reclaim narratives of resilience and survival. He uses visual storytelling to understand his relationships to community, land, and culture. Hitchcock’s artwork consists of abstract representations, language and intense color referencing his Kaku’s (Comanche grandmothers) beadwork and regalia. His artworks are based on his childhood memories and stories of growing up in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma on Comanche Tribal lands next to the US field artillery military base Ft Sill. Many of the images are interpretations of stories told by his Kiowa/Comanche grandparents and abstract representations influenced by beadwork and intercultural identities.
Tom Jones (Professor of Photography, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an artist, curator and educator. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.
Jones’ artwork is a commentary on identity, culture appropriation, experience and perception within Native America. He is raising questions about these depictions of identity by non-natives and Natives alike. He continues to work on an ongoing photographic essay on the contemporary life of his tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.
Jones co-authored the book “People of the Big Voice, Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1943.” He is the co-curator for the exhibition and contributing author to the book, “For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw” for the National Museum of the American Indian. He is currently working on a book about Ho-Chunk baskets.
This current series of portraits are rooted in Ho-Chunk identity. I am extending the boundaries of photography by incorporating beadwork directly onto the photograph. The use of Ho-Chunk floral and geometric designs is a metaphor for the spirits of our ancestors who are constantly looking over us.
As a child, I went with my mother to see a Sioux medicine man on the Rosebud reservation. We sat on the floor along the walls with many other people, when the lights were turned off the women started to sing. They were asking for the spirits to come in, it was at this time that small orbs of light began to float around the room. I have visually incorporated this experience through beadwork, in order to give a symbolic representation of our ancestors and to present the pride, strength and beauty of my people.
Dakota Mace (Diné) is an interdisciplinary artist who focuses on translating the language of Diné history and beliefs. Mace received her MA and MFA degrees in Photography and Textile Design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her BFA in Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts. As a Diné (Navajo) artist, her work draws from the history of her Diné heritage, exploring the themes of family lineage, community, and identity. In addition, her work pushes the viewer's understanding of Diné culture through alternative photography techniques, weaving, beadwork, and papermaking.
She has also worked with numerous institutions and programs to develop dialogue on the issues of cultural appropriation and the importance of Indigenous design work. She is currently an MFA in Studio Arts Faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Visiting Grad Advisor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the photographer for the Helen Louise Allen Textile Center and the Center of Design and Material Culture.
Her work as an artist and scholar has been exhibited nationally and internationally at various conferences, collectives, museums, and galleries. She is represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York City.
Contact the Artists