Indian Country: The Art Of David Bradley

Harvest Moon by David Bradley. Courtesy/Ed and Pam deZevallos Collection

MIAC News:

  • “To be an artist from the Indian world carries with it certain responsibilities … which I do not take lightly.” David Bradley

SANTA FE — Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley opens at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) Feb. 15 and runs through Jan. 16, 2016.

On view will be 32 works of art spanning his career, including paintings, mixed media works and bronze sculptures.

David Bradley of Minnesota Chippewa, creates narrative artworks that tell stories and histories not often heard by non-Native people nor understood from a Native American perspective. Saturated with a powerful Native voice and evocative visual descriptions of Indian experience, Bradley’s artworks depict historical, social, and political truths, personal narrative, and cultural critique.

In Bradley’s narratives of Indian Country, Native people take center stage in world art and history. Through his artwork he challenges stereotypes about Native American people, places, and events we think we understand, revealing the indigenous experiences at the core of what it means to be American.

“I try to use my art to spotlight the Indian worldview and sociopolitical realities. To expose social injustice is to begin to overcome it,” Bradley said.

As a young man, just out of the Peace Corps, Bradley came to the American Southwest to study art at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and received his B.A. in Fine Arts from The College of Santa Fe in 1980. For more than 30 years he has lived and worked in Santa Fe, and the qualities of light and color in his work shows the influence of the thin and dry high-desert air.  While the decorative color, patterned surfaces, and an overall flatness and linearity of his paintings highlights biting content which he tempers with humor and irony, Bradley’s mixed media works are more visceral ventures into the painful history of Native American lives.

“David Bradley is a painter of keen sensitivity and intelligence with a singular vision and Native American voice. He redirects the gaze of American life by depicting daily lives, thoughts, and histories from an Indian point of view. Through his artwork he confronts his world with paradox, incongruity, irony, and humor,” explains Valerie Verzuh, exhibition curator.

Bradley has received numerous awards and fellowships, including recognition as the only artist to win the top awards in both the Fine Art categories of painting and sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian Market. He was also awarded the Southwestern Association of Indian Art Fellowship in 1980, and the Minnesota Chippewa Art Award for Merit in Art in 1979.

He has exhibited his work throughout the nation, including, the Plains Indian Museum in Wyoming, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Plains Art Museum in Fargo, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Armory for the Arts in Santa Fe, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the American Indian Art Invitational in Lima, Peru and many others.

His work is in the permanent collections of various museums throughout the United States, especially in the southwest.

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