12th Annual “Cinema en tu Idioma”
Festival p. 19
Volume 3, Issue 16 • Aug. 5–18, 2011• San Diego Uptown News
“Even where the Ancestors Live,” 1997, L. Frank, Acrylic on Canvas
“Lady in Waiting,” 1998, Robert L. Freeman
Mingei puts modern spin on tradition Quartet of painters give voice to Native American struggle
By Jeff Britton SDUN Art Critic
The Mingei International Mu-
seum in Balboa Park is a folk art museum, featuring baskets, uten- sils, pottery and such, some of which is on display in the current
exhibit “In Their Own Words: Classic and Contemporary Native American Art.” But this exhibit takes a contemporary approach
to folk, showcasing four modern Native American artists, all from California and each excellent in his or her genre.
S AN D IEGO S YMPHONY
San Diego’s FINEST Entertainment on the Waterfront!
An appropriately named dazzler blanket welcomes you to the exhibit, its zig-zag pattern a locomotive treat for the eyes; while, nearby, a more conven- tional saddle blanket suggests the equine heart of Native American culture. But the real attractions are the splashy paintings by living artists such as Robert L. Freeman, Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez, L. Frank and Billy Soza Warsoldier. Freeman, a self-taught artist
THIS BROADWAY’S WEEKEND!
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DENNIS DEYOUNG: THE MUSIC OF
NEXT WEEKEND! Fireworks For complete schedule visit our website.
Financial support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
FRI & SAT, AUGUST 12 & 13, 7:30pm Founding member of Styx, Dennis DeYoung, performs Lady, Babe, Come Sail Away and more!
TICKETS START AT JUST $17! Table seating • Embarcadero Marina Park South, behind the Convention Center
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who grew up on reservations in Rincon, Calif., and Crow Creek, S.D., designed the State of California Commemorative seal embedded on the steps of our state capitol, and the elegant pointillist style that emerges from his vivid palette is reminiscent of Picasso’s cubism. A row of Freeman’s acrylics brightens the gallery, appeal- ingly depicting traditional native themes with contemporary verve. “Brute Warrior” and “Mermaid’s Brother,” the former on paper and the latter on a board, relate timeless tales of triumph in hard times, while along adjoining walls his style becomes more refined and realistic. Faces seem to emerge from the landscape in “Moonlight Serenade,” while “Water Buffalo” celebrates nature on land and sea and “All the people in the world” features an endless line of faces, fronted, presumably, by the tree of life. “Lady in Waiting” is a whimsical stereotype of a tipsy, sexy woman outside her teepee, her TV visible from its opening and empty beer cans strewn on the ground. Another autodidact in the exhibit is Catherine Nelson- Rodriguez, who, after growing up on four different California reservations, settled on the La Jolla Reservation. In her struggle to make sense
of her life, Nelson-Rodriguez’s work crosses the boundaries
see Mingei, page 19
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