For the 2018 edition of The Independent, New York, Garth Greenan Gallery presents I See Red, an exhibition of works by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. The four paintings in the exhibition provide an overview of Smith’s work between 1993 and 1996, a unique and innovative period in the artist’s practice. During that time, Smith began her famous series I See Red, further extending and elaborating her use of red as a signature of Native American identity. The saturated red of paintings such as I See Red: Indian Hand (1993), I See Red: My Heart Belongs to Daddy (1996), I See Red: McFlag (1996), and I See Red: Worlds Within Worlds (1996) performs simultaneous acts of affirmation and resistance.
Each work in I See Red is distinguished by a unique mix of media and collaged text on canvas. In I See Red: McFlag, bands of dripping white and red paint alternate, forming the thirteen stripes of the American flag. Collaged elements interrupt the sanguine bands of red declaring “BIG,” “Sex. Please.,” and “The race for bigness,” capturing the particularly American farrago of commercialism, nationalism, globalism, and violence. Smith revitalizes the generic red and white of the flag, instilling it with all of the frenetic and bloody energy of the country it represents.
Despite the cynicism introduced by some collaged elements, her flag is polyvocal. Interspersed amidst the clumsy and brutal commercial slogans and imagery are press clippings in foreign languages, and from Native American newspapers. One clipping from Indian Country Today declares, “Religious Freedom bill passes major hurdle.” The flag is degraded and dissonant, but not without flashes of hope or humor. Smith’s I See Red series activates a racialized discourse that might otherwise go unquestioned by reframing a dominant cultural metaphor within Smith’s specific aesthetic and political critique.
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; 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.