In celebration of Women's History Month the MSV spotlights Native American artist Wendy Star whose works are featured in the exhibition Hear My Voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present. Guest blogger and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Curator of Native American Art Johanna Minich, PhD, shares with us some insight into the artist's work:
"Wendy Star's work provides a thought provoking experience with images that draw on Native American stereotypes while appropriating the medium most often used to generate them. Four Seasons is the result of Red Star’s visit to a natural history museum where the standard format for displaying non-Western art and culture was the diorama. In these artificial sets, lifeless figures were meant to replicate a real place and time. In response, Red Star fabricated four elaborate sets, complete with plastic inflatable creatures and 1970s photomural mountain ranges, in which she placed herself as the subject. The effect is both humorous and discomforting, as viewers are immediately reminded of their own experiences in museums. But, they are also confronted with the clearly artificial quality and subversive humor, raising questions about the validity of a Western perception of what it means to be Native."
Four Seasons: Spring, 2006, Wendy Red Star, Crow (Apsaalooke), born 1981. Archival pigment print on Museo Silver rag. Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund, 2016.213-216.
Johanna Minich is the Consulting Curator for Native American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Dr. Johanna Minich received her PhD in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently an adjunct professor of Art History at the University of Mary Washington.