Keith Berens, Carol Hepper, and Tim Schouten
April 17 - June 13, 2010
Does such a thing as contemporary Indian art exist on the Northern Plains? “Shared Histories,” a new exhibition opening on April 17 at the North Dakota Museum of Art suggests that our northern reservations are shared territory between Indian and non-Indian residents. Cultural traditions, visual life, religion, politics, play and education have intermingled to produce a hybrid art shared by everyone.
The exhibition draws on Canadian artists to the north, one Native, one European. It also includes work by Carol Hepper, an artist of non-Indian lineage who grew up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that bridges North and South Dakota but has been a New York artist for the last three decades.
Keith Berens is an “urban Native” of Indian descent who grew up in Winnipeg and has traveled much of Europe and North America. He draws his greatest influence from early American abstract artists. Tim Schouten was born in Winnipeg, resided on the Canadian East Coast for years before returning to live near Lake Winnipeg.
Yet all make art deeply based in the history, culture, landscape or materials of Native people. All three also make art that grows out of mainstream Western art. They share contrasting ethnic and art history backgrounds out of which come surprising bodies of work that relate to the past and that challenges Northern Plains stereotypes. For example, through his art Tim Schouten, who is not of Indian decent, has spent years tracing the history of the treaties between Native peoples and the Canadian government.