Opening March 1, 2016 - April 23, 2016 The Archer Gallery, Vancouver WA
The Woven exhibit examines selected works of twelve contemporary Native artists, each with their own unique and modern approach to the age-old craft of weaving. The works in this exhibit will explore themes ranging from the basket as a beautiful vehicle to confront difficult issues to the use of traditional techniques and materials to express 21st century ideas and influences.
From the 1890s to the great depression, thousands of tourists and collectors flocked to Native communities, particularly in the west, to collect Native artwork. Native artwork was considered pure and wholesome, the work of a “vanishing race.” Often these baskets became part of ethnographic collections, both private and in museums, where there is rarely any acknowledgement the artists who created them.
Honoring the weavers of the past, and to establish context and a historic framework, the entrance to the exhibition will include a selection of historic basket reflecting the work of many different tribes and weavers. Advertisements that were meant to lure tourists to the west to see and or collect baskets will be displayed along with historic photographs of famous weavers and collections.
Upon entering the main gallery it becomes vividly clear that this exhibition’s focus is not on historic baskets. Each of the artists in this exhibit has researched, practiced and even mastered their traditional forms of basket weaving. Some use their art to tackle political and often uncomfortable social issues; others combine their traditional weaving skills with contemporary materials and imagery to create works that pay respect to tradition but also are clearly the work of a 21st century artist.