Two Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts grab spotlight
A pair of Oregon artists recognized as Hallie Ford Fellows are receiving national acclaim for their artistic achievements. Earning headlines in art news recently are Native American artists Wendy Red Star, a 2016 Hallie Ford Fellow, and Natalie Ball, who received Hallie Ford Fellow honors in 2020.
Wendy Red Star
Mixed media artist Wendy Red Star recently announced that her work “Accession” has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Red Star, a visual artist who grew up on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, now lives in Portland.
“Accession” is a series of photomontages that link archival images of indigenous peoples with Red Star’s modern interpretation of contemporary Native life. “Red Star builds on both her cultural heritage and her involvement in many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber art, and performance art,” says a release from The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, which acquired another Accession series in December.
Red Star was also interviewed by The New York Times last fall about her work on Aperture magazine. She served as guest editor for a special issue of the photography magazine, called “Native America,” that focused on indigenous lives. As guest editor, she curated, edited and featured a wide range of Native artists.
“I’ve always been really enthralled with images,” she told the New York Times. “I really like to align my practice with research and investigation as the primary source of inspiration. Everything that I put out there visually is the way that my voice speaks the loudest.”
Her work is also on display in Kidspace, Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art’s child-centric gallery. “Apsáalooke: Children of the Large-Beaked Bird,” offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people through Red Star’s beautifully annotated photographs and installations. “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment,” she says.
Chiloquin artist Natalie Ball was recently selected as one of 25 artists from across the country to receive a competitive Painters & Sculptor grant from the New York-based Joan Mitchell Foundation. The 2020 Hallie Ford Fellow is one of two artists from Oregon to win a $25,000 unrestricted award. The other is Portland artist Arvie Smith; the Foundation’s Visual Arts Program recently supported an exhibition and catalog of his work through a grant to Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland.
Artists selected for the Painters & Sculptor grants are first nominated by artist peers and arts professionals from throughout the United States and then chosen through a multi-phase jurying process, which this year was conducted virtually. In addition to the financial award, grantees also gain access to a network of arts professionals, who can provide consultations on career development and financial management. They also become eligible to apply for residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.
Ball was born and raised in Portland, and earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in ethnic studies and art from the University of Oregon. She returned to her ancestral homelands in Southern Oregon after obtaining a master’s degree from New Zealand’s Massey University, focusing on indigenous contemporary art. She earned an MFA degree in Painting & Printmaking at Yale School of Art in 2018.
“I developed my studio practice using visual archives, history, gesture, materiality, and personal experience as the foundation to create painted textiles and sculptures as Power Objects,” Ball says. “Through auto-ethnography, I attempt to move ‘Indian’ outside of governing discourses to offer a visual genealogy that refuses to line up with the many constructed existences of Native Americans.”
Her work has been shown nationally and internationally at venues including the Half Gallery, New York; Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia; Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles; Portland Art Museum; Gagosian, New York; Seattle Art Museum; Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France; and SculptureCenter, New York.