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Printmaking students, Native artists to collaborate


December 15, 2008

One recent day, Mary Hood and Joe Baker were discussing the idea of "place," and how art could be the vehicle for a discussion about "here" and what it means.

Hood, who teaches printmaking in the Herberger College School of Art, and Baker, Herberger's director of community engagement, went on to brainstorm about an event tied to the concept of "place," and the result is "Map(ing)," a five-day collaboration between Native American artists and students in the ASU printmaking program Jan. 12-16.

"We will use the uniqueness of printmaking as a vehicle for visual communication and the sharing of culture, language and identity," Hood said.

Five Native American artists – who are not necessarily printmakers – will team with one or two graduate and select undergraduate students to "explore and cultivate an environment of communication, diversity, mentoring and acknowledgement of place and people," Hood said.

During the five days, each artist will create a limited edition of 10 prints, half of which they will keep. Two of the remaining five will be auctioned at a Jan. 16 fundraiser. Each student will receive a print, and one will be given to the ASU Art Museum for its permanent collection.

Participating artists will be Dana Claxton, Jason Garcia, Randy Kemp, Steven Yazzie and Yolanda Stevens.

The student collaborators will be Olivia Timmons, Emily Stokes, Whitney Korstange, Jacob Medders, Kathleen Moore, Gabriella Munoz, Matthew McLaughlin, Nicholas Dowgwillow and Brent Schieszer.

The public will be able to meet the artists and student printmakers at two free events during the week. A forum with the artists will be held at Night Gallery in Tempe Marketplace from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, and a closing reception, with the fund-raiser, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, also at Night Gallery. The gallery is a community engagement project between the ASU Herberger College of the Arts and Tempe Marketplace.

As the artists and student printmakers work together, they will be emphasizing the idea of "place," as originally envisioned, Hood said.

"What about the place where we are, here? In the Southwest it's difficult to not deal with native identity. I believe it is essential that we, as a university, engage the metro community with Native-based projects that promote a new awareness of and respect for our indigenous peoples."

Bringing together Native peoples and the arts is a major focus of 'Map(ing),' Hood said.

"We have so few Native American role models in the arts, and we have no Native Americans on our art faculty here. I do have Native American students, but this is a learning process for me, and a growing process for the students."

The visiting artists are being sponsored by King Galleries in Scottsdale, ASU's F.A.R. (Future Arts Research), the Herberger School of Art and the non-profit organization Ripple.

The artists bring a wide variety of talents and ideas with them, from film to beadwork.

Dana Claxton, an interdisciplinary artist of Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux ancestry, lives in Canada and her studio practice includes film and video, installation, performance and photography. Her work has been screened at venues internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Sundance Festival and Microwave in Hong Kong.

Jason Garcia is a son of noted potters Gloria Garcia (Goldenrod) and John Garcia from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.

His early ceramics work focused primarily on figures and capturing Pueblo dances and activities in clay. Three years ago, Garcia began making clay tiles on which he painted Pueblo dancers in the traditional two-dimensional painting style of Santa Clara as way of giving form to his vision of the world around him.

Randy Kemp earned a bachelor's degree in painting from the ASU Herberger College of Arts and before that, studied with noted American Indian artists W. Richard West Sr., Solomon McCombs and Ruthe Blalock Jones at Bacone Junior College in Muskogee, Okla.

His work includes both the traditional flat, two-dimensional depictions of tribal life, as well as works in contemporary Indian themes and views.

Kemp, an environmental graphic designer at ASU, also is a musician and has recorded his flute music on numerous CDs and videos, including a music and poetry project with his daughter, Rykelle, titled "Artificial Red."

Steven Yazzie, Navajo/Dine, has been creating and exhibiting works of art since the mid 1990s. While the main body of his work is painting, he has found equal success with sculpture, video, installation and mixed media work. Born in 1970, Yazzie currently lives and works in Phoenix.

Yolanda Stevens, a beadworker, is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community, Pee-Posh/Quechan, currently residing in the village of Komatke, Ariz.

As an artist in residence at the Heard Museum and as a teacher of beadwork, Stevens has developed programs to promote a clearer understanding of the people of the Southwest through their history, clothing and decoration. Stevens teaches a variety of beading techniques, including lazy stitch, edging and peyote stitch at locations throughout the Valley.

To help raise funds for "Map(ing)," the ASU branch of the Arizona State Credit Union is holding a raffle through Dec. 22 for a painting by ASU faculty member Jerry Schutte. Tickets are $10, or three for $25.

For more information about "Map(ing)" and a full biography of the visiting artists, go to http://asumapping.wordpress.com/.