Connective Tissue: New Approaches to Fiber in Contemporary Native Art

Connective Tissue: New Approaches to Fiber in Contemporary Native Art features contemporary Native American artists who integrate various forms of fiber art media and methods to achieve their visions and to make their statements. They share an interest in the materiality and technique of fiber art. Their works are created using natural or synthetic fibers or techniques, and have different themes or concepts at their core. Contemporary artists who work in fiber art are very much aware of the rich traditions and history of this art form and medium. Consequently, one of the most common conceptual tools in fiber art involve the revival, innovation, or distortion of those traditions. Fiber as a medium appeals to many of these artists since the material’s tactility and versatility enables them to experiment and to produce unique, powerful artworks. Fiber also engages because of its attachment to gender stereotypes and cultural heritage, as well as the material’s associations with domesticity and homeliness. Placed out of context or integrated in artists’ own creations the medium invites social-critical and political statements.

Among the participating artists are Natalie Ball (Modoc/Klamath Tribes), Ashley Browning (Pojoaque/Santa Clara Pueblos), Kelly Church (Anishinabe/Ottawa/Chippewa/Potawatomi), Melissa Cody (Navajo), Velma Kee Craig (Navajo), Wally Dion (Salteaux), Anita Fields (Osage), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax), David Gaussoin (Picuris/Navajo/French), David Hannan (Métis), Merritt Johnson (Mowhawk/Blackfoot descent), Brian Jungen (Dunne-za/Swiss Canadian), Marlowe Katoney (Navajo), Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq/Athabascan), Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara/Lakota/Austrian/Norwegian), Amy Malbeuf (Métis), Melissa Melero (Northern Paiute), Meghann O’Brien (Haida/Kwakwaka’wakw), Mark Preston (Tlingit), Charlene Vickers (Anishinabe), Marie Watt (Seneca), and Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation).