Action Painting &
Gestural Painting

Artwork in this exhibition demonstrates abstract concepts found in traditional Native art forms and in Abstract Expressionism. This post-WWII art movement consists of two artistic tendencies: Action Painting (or Gestural Abstraction), which emphasized the energy of the painter’s mark, and Color Field Painting, which focused on the creation of vast, atmospheric areas of color.

Inspired by the physical activity of Abstract Expressionism’s new techniques of applying paint, including dripping, throwing, and squirting, Native artists such as Kirby Feathers, Alice Loiselle, and Mike Medicine Horse Zillioux, approached their canvases in a direct, intuitive, and spontaneous way. As a result, their paintings and drawings are very intense and expressive. Several of their works seem to express the artists’ personal emotions. A painterly quality and a rough-and-ready look is part of the intentional aesthetic and reflects the artist’s interest in experimentation with the material properties of their chosen media.

Image of Artwork

Earl Biss

Untitled (Mole Hole Series), ca.1967

Oil, turpentine on canvas

Image of Artwork

Earl Eder

Forms in Beadwork, ca. 1963

Oil on canvas

Image of Artwork

John Hoover

Untitled (Dark Landscape), ca. 1950-1960

Oil on canvas

Image of Artwork

Mike Zillioux

The Day Jackson Pollock Became a Christian, 1974

Acrylic, rawhide, salt on canvas

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