Landscape in Contemporary Native American Art
- PUBLISHED: March 2019
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art, Art / Painting
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 208 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 46 color illus.
- ISBN: 9780295745367
A distinctly Indigenous form of landscape representation is emerging in the creations of contemporary Indigenous artists from North America. For centuries, landscape painting in European art typically used representational strategies such as single-point perspective to lure viewers—and settlers—into the territories of the old and new worlds. In the twentieth century, abstract expressionism transformed painting to encompass something beyond the visual world, and later, minimalism and the Land Art movement broadened the genre of landscape art to include sculptural forms and site-specific installations.
In Shifting Grounds, art historian Kate Morris argues that Indigenous artists are expanding, reconceptualizing, and remaking the forms of the genre still further, expressing Indigenous attitudes toward land and belonging even as they draw upon mainstream art practices. The resulting works are rarely if ever primarily visual representations, but instead evoke all five senses: from the overt sensuality of Kay WalkingStick’s tactile paintings to the eerie soundscapes of Alan Michelson’s videos and Postcommodity’s installations to the immersive environments of Kent Monkman’s dioramas, this landscape art resonates with a fully embodied and embedded subjectivity.
In the works of these and many other Native artists, Shifting Grounds explores themes of presence and absence, connection and dislocation, survival and vulnerability, memory and commemoration, and power and resistance, illuminating the artists’ sustained engagement not only with land and landscape but also with the history of representation itself.
A Helen Marie Ryan Wyman Book
Art History Publication Initiative. For more information, visit http://arthistorypi.org/books/shifting-grounds
Authors & Contributors
Kate Morris is associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Santa Clara University.
[Morris’] excellent in-depth analysis of two case studies may provide a starting point for future broader discussions and analyses of landscape and the themes she identifies with contemporary indigenous work: presence and absence, connection and dislocation, survival and vulnerability, memory and commemoration, power and resistance.- Choice
[S]ignificant contribution to art history- Artblog
This book offers a great deal to experts on contemporary Native art, as well as to scholars of global modern and contemporary arts who seek to learn more about this vibrant subdiscipline. With language that is both eloquent and accessible, Shifting Grounds is a significant contribution to art history in general, and Native American contemporary art criticism in particular.- Janet Catherine Berlo, professor of visual and cultural studies, University of Rochester
Landscape in the work of Native artists is sophisticated, conceptually complex yet visually compelling and at times even seductive. Morris illuminates the many layers of meaning in their work through this insightful and intriguing exploration.- Kathleen Ash-Milby, National Museum of the American Indian
Shifting Grounds releases the colonial capture of Indigenous land in the Americas from a central ideological tenet in the field of art history, the genre of landscape art. Launching from ground zero canonical works by W. J. T. Mitchell and Rosalind Krauss, Kate Morris remaps land in the Americas from an Indigenous visual, epistemological, and political perspective.- Jolene Rickard, (Tuscarora), professor of art history and director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Cornell University