Gerald Peters Gallery Contemporary

Evan Feldman
Director
efeldman@gpgallery.com

Opening reception: June 28, 5-8pm

Gerald Peters Contemporary is pleased to present an exhibition of a sculptural installation and new paintings by Steven J Yazzie (Diné/Laguna Pueblo), whose multidisciplinary practice spans paintings, sculpture, film, and drawing. Informed by the complexities of his Indigenous experience and the essential connection to the land as the source of life, stories, conflict, and healing, the exhibition, Elders, explores the dynamic relationship between humanity and the environment.
The new installation from which the show takes its title, Elders, was first developed for the artist’s recent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The installation includes sound and sculpture from the trunk and roots of a fallen tree and sections of wood found by Yazzie throughout Colorado forests and parks, including the Rio Grande National Forest, Sangre de Christo Range, Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and Cherry Creek Reservoir. Combining different species of wood (Blue Spruce, Pine, Aspen, Cottonwood and Maple) to create a singular, hybrid form, the work incorporates voices of Indigenous elders from Native nations throughout the Southwest that Yazzie interviewed, alluding to the natural process of aging, death, and decay, which is shared by all living beings. Excerpts of these recordings are edited in a way to highlight an Indigenous perspective of land, place and identity. Together they recount memories from childhood and meditations on their relationships to the land. The disembodied sounds imbue the wood form with the histories and knowledge shared by these elders, animating it with their words, and reflecting on themes of isolation, connection, and the contrast between life and death.
Accompanying the installation will be a series of Yazzie’s latest abstractions. At once personal and imaginative, the artist’s expressionistic paintings capture familiar, yet indiscernible geological forms, rocks, rivers, flora and fauna, in energetic brushstrokes and lively color. Embracing a spirit of discovery in his painting process, Yazzie’s lines, shapes, and repetitive motifs evolve organically, allowing unpredictable, unexpected elements to find their place within the work. The dynamics between these paintings and the large-scale installation are expressions of embodied experiences in relation to time and place, and the artist’s continued meditation on his lived environment.
Steven J. Yazzie (b. 1970, Diné/Laguna Pueblo) Newport Beach, California; lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Yazzie is a proud member of the Navajo Nation and is a veteran of the Gulf War, serving honorably with the United States Marine Corps from 1988-92. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Intermedia at Arizona State University and was named the 2014 outstanding graduate of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He also studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, 2006.
Yazzie’s professional career spans a long exhibition list of national and international institutions, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; the Museum of Contemporary Native Art and the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, NM. Throughout Arizona: Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Yazzie is a 2021 recipient of the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship and was recently awarded Community Scholar for the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality, University of Denver, Colorado, and 2022 Native Artist in Residence at the Denver Art Museum.


							

									Steven J Yazzie									Elders 2024									Reconstructed Tree, Sound, Duration: 25:52

Steven J Yazzie

Elders 2024
Reconstructed Tree, Sound, Duration: 25:52

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									Steven J Yazzie									Amorphous 2024									oil on canvas<br />
60 x 60 inches

Steven J Yazzie

Amorphous 2024
oil on canvas
60 x 60 inches

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									Steven J Yazzie									Black Mountain Redux 2024									oil on canvas<br />
60 x 60 inches

Steven J Yazzie

Black Mountain Redux 2024
oil on canvas
60 x 60 inches

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