George Longfish Retrospective Brings Bold Native Identity to the Dahl Arts Center
Thursday, 22 October 2009 21:49
The George Longfish Retrospective, currently on exhibition at the Dahl Arts Center, is the first bold statement by the museum's Exhibition Committee that the New Dahl will host art of international renown that would not have been possible two years ago. "Before the expansion..." Director Linda Anderson explains, "...we couldn't even get paintings this big through the doors of the old museum."
Longfish's large paintings, such as his 1992 triptych "The End of Innocence" are large enough to span an entire wall in the Senator Stanford Adelstein and Lynda Clark Gallery. His work combines bold colors, graphic elements, text, and both traditional and contemporary images posed together, often in humorous relief.
George Longfish (1942--) is Seneca/Tuscorora, born in Ontario, and educated at the Thomas Indian School in upstate New York. He received his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His early paintings were heavily influenced by abstract modern art. In 1972 he founded and directed the graduate program in American Indian Arts at the University of Montana, which stimulated his own interest in questions of native identity. After spending two years in Montana, Longfish moved to the University of California-Davis, where he joined the faculty of the Native American Studies Department, and became Director of the C.N. Gorman Museum.
The arc of Longfish's life and art follows the arc of political awareness and activism among Native Americans in the latter third of the 20th century, forged in the crucible of the civil rights movement and the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.
The Longfish Retrospective was organized by the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana. The exhibition is at the Dahl Arts Center (http://www.thedahl.org/) through January 3, 2010.
Click here to see more of George Longfish's work.