mask and coyote

On Sunday I saw this Yup’ik mask from the early 1900’s, which is part of the  Peabody Essex Museum‘s current exhibit of new and old Native American art.  The arrow in the drawing points to the disks extending off the face that are supposed to represent the breath rising to the surface of water in the form of bubbles.

I’ve mentioned Rick Bartow before.  He’s a contemporary artist living on the N.W. coast whose work astonishes.  This sculpture was LARGE… 84 inches long.  It was powerfully compelling, and I was both surprised and not surprised to discover that he had made it. 

Titled, “From Nothing Coyote Creates Himself”, this piece resulted from the artist ‘following the voice of the wood,’ per traditional methods.  I appreciate what he says here:

“Drawing is an attempt to exorcise the demons that have made me strange to myself.  My work has never stopped being therapy.  I have drawn myself sane.”

(quoted from the show’s catalog – “Shapeshifting – Transformations in Native American Art”).

One of my other favorite objects was a beautiful coat stitched from mammal intestines and esophagus.  It was translucent, like a sheer organza, and embellished with the tiniest stitches, all the more impressive for being stitched with sinew and grasses!

5 thoughts on “mask and coyote

  1. saskia

    indeed thank you, will definitely ‘investigate’ this Rick Bartow!
    and the coat you mention has made me curious as to what it actually looks like, ‘cos I have created an image in my mind thru your description……..

  2. deedeemallon

    you’re welcome… both! I’d photograph the picture in the catalog (that I received for Valentine’s Day), but 1) that’d be a more flagrant copyright violation than the pictures above and 2) the picture does not capture either the luminous quality of the garment, nor does it showcase the tiny, tiny, beautiful stitching…. It was an Aleut piece, should you want to try to research for images online.

  3. ginny

    You find the most amazing things in your travels. Love the little bird on the coyote head and his bristles. Very cool. Simple, almost like found objects yet what a combination.

  4. deedeemallon

    It is one of the advantages of living near a city, as you know ginny!! The bird was not visible from viewing point in the museum… could only see it in photo. Makes me think I should go back.


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