By Matthew Taylor
The “Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25” expedition opened last month at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. The expedition, which will remain open until Dec. 22, showcases the 25 year history of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.
The Crow’s Shadow Institute, a world class Native American art studio, has been in a partnership with the University and Hallie Ford since 2006, bringing an expedition to the museum every other year. This expedition is especially significant as it marks the Crow’s Shadow Institute’s 25th anniversary.
Located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Crow’s Shadow was founded by local artists James Lavadour and Phillip Cash Cash in 1992. The institute aims to “provide a creative conduit for educational, social and economic opportunities for Native Americans through artistic development.”
“He wanted to contribute to the Tribes’ new sense of direction and self-sufficiency, and also to give emerging artists opportunities and a sense of community that had eluded him as he taught himself his craft,” said art historian Prudence Roberts of Lavadour.
The current expedition features 74 prints taken from the Crow’s Shadow Print Archive, focusing primarily on, “themes of landscape, abstraction, portraiture, word and images and media and process,” according to Hallie Ford. Work from 50 artists, representing both native and non-native communities, has been displayed.
In addition to the Crow’s shadow pieces, two exhibits are slated to complete their run here at the end of the month.
The 60s: Pop and Op Art Prints from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation has been on display at the Hallie Ford Art Museum since May 13. Schnitzer, a local Portland art collector, has amassed what many consider to be one of the finest print collections in the nation.
According to the Hallie Ford Museum, the exhibit “explores how the Pop and Op art movements, that emerged in the 1960s, had a profound influence on the development of psychedelic posters and fashion.”
Pop Art emerged in Britain in the the mid-1950s as a rejection of the Abstract Expressionist movement that largely dominated the artistic world at that time. By utilizing images from popular culture, including advertisements, newspapers and other everyday objects, Pop Art presented a challenge to the traditional artistic norms.
Op Art, like Pop Art, emerged in the 1960s as a result of younger artist’s rejection of Abstract Expressionism. However, rather than relying on images from popular culture, Op Art was a form of abstract art that utilized, “geometric shapes, lines, and color juxtapositions to create optical illusions for the viewer.”
Another exhibit, “Capturing the Power of the Spirit World: Ritual Objects from Northeast Papua New Guinea,” has brought 24 objects from Papua New Guinea to the Museum. The objects, which include sculptures, masks, dance ornaments, utensils and vessels, have been on display since July 29.
Anthropologist David Eisler collected the objects during the mid-1970s while researching for his PhD.
According to the Museum, “The objects in this exhibition offer a glimpse into a culture that has gone from isolated small-scale communities with a stone tool technology to those that are connected by roads, airplanes, and the internet, to the contemporary Western world.”
The objects on display showcase various traditional religious elements of Papua New Guinean culture. This includes a belief in animism, a worldview which places spiritual significance in everyday objects, places and creatures. The impacts of this pervasive belief can be seen in the objects on display at Hallie Ford.
Both “The 60’s” and “Capturing the Power of the Spirit World” will depart Hallie Ford Museum on Oct. 22.