Abstract Painting

Untitled (Mole Hole Series), ca.1967

Artist Earl Biss (Iichíile Xáxxish, Spotted Horse)
(Crow, 1947 - 1998)
Medium Oil, turpentine on canvas
Dimensions 61” x 49”


Earl Biss started to paint in oil at age twelve and was placed in the advanced painting classes taught by Fritz Scholder when he enrolled at IAIA in 1965. A year later he was awarded a scholarship to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. Biss’s Mole Hole paintings are organic abstractions. Upon closer inspection, the paintings resemble vertical sections of a landscape including a close up of a mole tunnel and pile of dirt. For the yellow-ochre “soil”, Biss splashed turpentine on the surface, letting gravity move the oil paint to create an almost translucent, bubbly-liquid-like effect, similar to Abstract Expressionists’ spontaneous, experimental painting methods.