June 17 - September 10, 2017
Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist is the first major retrospective of the artistic career of Kay WalkingStick (b. 1935), a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and one of the country's most celebrated artists of Native American ancestry.
For nearly half a century, she has explored her own hybrid cultural identity through her art and life. A citizen of both the United States and the Cherokee Nation, she has forged an artistic identity that reflects the times in which she has lived and the beauty she has encountered in the U.S. and abroad.
Featuring more than 65 of her most notable paintings, drawings, small sculptures, notebooks, and the diptychs for which she is best known, the exhibition traces her career over more than four decades and culminates with her recent paintings of monumental landscapes and Native places.
Organized chronologically around themes that mark her artistic journey, Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist traces a path of constant invention, innovation, and evolving artistic and personal growth through visually brilliant and evocative works of art.
About the artist
Kay WalkingStick is the child of a Cherokee father from Oklahoma and a Scotch-Irish mother from Syracuse, New York. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1959 and completed her Master of Fine Arts in 1975 at Pratt Institute.
Her distinctive approach to painting emerged from the cauldron of the New York art world, poised between late modernism and postmodernism of the 1960s and 1970s. Over decades of intense and prolific artistic production, she has combined a passion for landscape painting with the pursuit of spiritual truths about our shared human condition.
The relationship of Native people to the land is a recurring theme, rooted in her family history and personal experiences. In the 1980s and early 1990s, she was part of a movement of Native artists who began boldly asserting their individual and national histories in the contemporary art world, a process that continues to this day.
WalkingStick's work is in the collections of 40 art museums including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the National Museum of Israel. She is a faculty emerita at Cornell University, where she was professor in the Department of Art, 1988-2005. She lives with her husband, the artist Dirk Bach, in Easton, PA.
The presentation in Kalamazoo is made possible by
Welcome programming supported by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation
Kay WalkingStick, Night/ORT (Usvi), 1991. Oil, acrylic, saponified wax, and copper on canvas, 36.25 x 72.25 x 2 in. Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, purchased with funds provided by Alberta Stout. 1000.10
This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
Kay WalkingStick, Me and My Neon Box, 1971, acrylic on canvas. Collection of the artist, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.
Kay WalkingStick, A Sensual Suggestion, 1974. Acrylic on canvas. Collection of the artist. Courtesy American Federation of Arts