DAYTON — The Dayton Art Institute will open its 2017 special exhibition season with a major retrospective of contemporary Native American artist Kay WalkingStick, on view at the museum from Feb. 11 through May 7.
“Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist” features about 60 of her most notable works, drawn from public and private collections across the country and from the collection of the artist. The exhibition demonstrates the breadth of WalkingStick’s achievements and her contributions to American art. While WalkingStick’s work has been widely exhibited and discussed, this touring retrospective will be the first survey of her singular career.
The artist will be at the Dayton Art Institute to present a talk about her art, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. Admission to the talk is $5 for museum members and $10 for nonmembers. A special nonmember combo ticket is available for $25 and includes admission to the special exhibition and a reception following the talk. For information and reservations, call 937-223-4278.
The exhibition, which originated at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian NMAI, was co-curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby, associate curator, and David Penney, associate director for museum scholarship at the Smithsonian’s NMAI. “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist” is organized by the American Federation of Arts and NMAI.
“We are thrilled to participate in this important, traveling retrospective, and are proud to further the exhibition’s mission by presenting the multidimensional artworks of Kay WalkingStick within the context of The DAI’s encyclopedic collection,” said Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, in-house curator for the Dayton Art Institute.
“Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist” surveys the career of one of today’s most accomplished Native American artists and a leading practitioner of contemporary landscape painting. Over the course of four decades, WalkingStick has tirelessly explored her own complex cultural identity, engaging Native American history along with feminism, minimalism and other key art historical movements. She is particularly renowned for her majestic and sensual landscapes, which imbue natural scenery with the charge of personal and collective memory. In addition to tracing WalkingStick’s artistic journey, this exhibition offers a fresh perspective on issues of race, identity, and national history that are central both to contemporary Native American art and to American culture at large.
Over the past two decades, WalkingStick’s interests in landscape, the body, and history have merged in majestic and often monumental compositions. While the diptych format still appears, it does not dominate or dictate her mature practice. References to specific places—often sites laden with historical associations—have become more common and many works indulge, simply and unapologetically, in the beauty of the natural world.