Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Woman in Landscape, an exhibition of recent works at 545 West 20th Street. Opening on Thursday, November 4, 2021, the exhibition includes 15 of Smith’s thickly impastoed mixed-media paintings, along with a number of recent mixed-media works and sculptures.
In her new series of monumental paintings, Smith rotates the American map, encircling the landmass in a sea of bead and basketwork patterns from the Plateau region. This simple but iconoclastic act dislodges the landmass from its contextual meaning.
In one painting, Smith paints America in saturated color—each state a different swatch of red. A headline reads “In the Future we Will all be Mixed Bloods,” reflecting a reality which prompts routine paroxysms of racial anxiety in America. Smith’s use of red is unstable— subsuming its roles in racial persecution and affirmative Native identity, and with blood itself which is symbolic of mortality, racial lineage, and even life. Elsewhere, a patch of inverted letters reads “sdrawkcaB,” suggesting that this imagined post-racial “mixed-blood” future may turn out to be elusive. References to billionaire space excursions, by Elon Musk and others, suggests that a new colonial exodus may already be underway.
Maps have never been mere objective descriptions of landmasses. They have been instruments in the exercise of power and territorial expansion. Across the series, Smith hints at the map’s many potential alternate meanings. Female fertility figures grace each canvas, asserting that the landmass is, foremost, Mother Earth herself. Pictographic turtles reassert America’s previous title to many of its inhabitants: Turtle Island. References to “India” recall Columbus’s geographic mistake that still reverberates in our language. Through the simple rotation, Smith notes, the map becomes a “thing of Indian power.”
Born in 1940 at the St. Ignatius Indian Mission on her reservation, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is an enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Montana. Smith received an Associate of Arts Degree at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington in 1960, a BA in Art Education from Framingham State College, Massachusetts in 1976, and an MA in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1980. Since the late ’70s, Smith has had over 50 solo exhibitions, including at Kornblee Gallery (1979, New York), Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (1990, New York), Steinbaum Krauss Gallery (1992, 1995, 1998, New York), and Jan Cicero Gallery (2000 and 2002, Chicago). In 2004, the Milton Hershey School Art Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania) opened Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Made in America which traveled to Keene State College (Keene, New Hampshire).
Smith’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Quito, Ecuador; the Museum of Mankind, Vienna, Austria; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.