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Artist profile: Lillian Pitt

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Lillian Pitt will be joining us for First Friday on May 2, 2014. A Native American artist from the Big River (Columbia River) region of the Pacific Northwest, Pitt was born on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. She is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs people.

04_SS_1-whitePitt is one of the most highly regarded Native American artists in the Pacific Northwest. Her works have been exhibited and reviewed regionally, nationally and internationally, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. Her awards include the 2007 Earle A. Chiles Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 1990 Governor’s Award of the Oregon Arts Commission, which declared that she had made “significant contributions to the growth and development of the cultural life of Oregon.”

Primarily a sculptor and mixed media artist, Lillian’s lifetime of works include artistic expressions in clay, bronze, wearable art, prints, and most recently, glass. The focus of her work draws on over 12,000 years of Native American history and tradition of the Columbia River region. Regardless of the medium she chooses to use, Lillian’s contemporary works are all aimed at giving voice to her people.

“Everything I do, regardless of the medium, is directly related to honoring my ancestors and giving voice to the people, the environment and the animals. It’s all about maintaining a link with tradition, and about honoring the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world.” While glass is her most recent medium, Lillian continues to create works in all of the various media she is known for, including clay, bronze, jewelry, prints, and mixed media.

Lillian’s works are found in personal collections, art galleries and museums. They are also found in numerous public spaces including parks, schools and cultural institutions throughout the region. Her most recent public works are featured at the Vancouver Land Bridge, one of the seven “confluence” projects along the Columbia River, designed by internationally renowned architect Maya Lin.

Just as her ancestors would have done, Lillian makes creative use of whatever materials are available and appropriate to the task at hand. Lillian’s most recent works are made from the mediums of cast glass and fused glass.

Lillian says, “I love using glass because of the sense of depth I can create in my sculptures, and because it helps me to create the kind of spiritual quality I’m often trying to achieve.”

Be sure to join us on First Friday and meet this unique artist and learn more about her work and technique.

Images: Shadow Spirit in the Grasses; Dreamer

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Lillian Pitt is back in the Gallery

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We are pleased to have artist Lillian Pitt back in the Gallery. Lillian Pitt is a Native American artist from the Big River (Columbia River) region of the Pacific Northwest. Born on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, she is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs people.

04_SS_1-whiteShe is one of the most highly regarded Native American artists in the Pacific Northwest. Her works have been exhibited and reviewed regionally, nationally and internationally, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. Her awards include the 2007 Earle A. Chiles Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 1990 Governor’s Award of the Oregon Arts Commission, which declared that she had made “significant contributions to the growth and development of the cultural life of Oregon.”

Primarily a sculptor and mixed media artist, Lillian’s lifetime of works include artistic expressions in clay, bronze, wearable art, prints, and most recently, glass. The focus of her work draws on over 12,000 years of Native American history and tradition of the Columbia River region. Regardless of the medium she chooses to use, Lillian’s contemporary works are all aimed at giving voice to her people.

“Everything I do, regardless of the medium, is directly related to honoring my ancestors and giving voice to the people, the environment and the animals. It’s all about maintaining a link with tradition, and about honoring the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world.” While glass is her most recent medium, Lillian continues to create works in all of the various media she is known for, including clay, bronze, jewelry, prints, and mixed media.

Lillian’s works are found in personal collections, art galleries and museums. They are also found in numerous public09_SS_6-CoolGreen spaces including parks, schools and cultural institutions throughout the region. Her most recent public works are featured at the Vancouver Land Bridge, one of the seven “confluence” projects along the Columbia River, designed by internationally renowned architect Maya Lin.

Just as her ancestors would have done, Lillian makes creative use of whatever materials are available and appropriate to the task at hand. Lillian’s most recent works are made from the mediums of cast glass and fused glass.

Lillian says, “I love using glass because of the sense of depth I can create in my sculptures, and because it helps me to create the kind of spiritual quality I’m often trying to achieve.”

Lillian will be present at our next First Friday on December 6, 2013. Take advantage of this special opportunity to meet this unique artist and learn about her work and technique.

Images: Shadow Spirit in the Grasses; Spirit Bird Standing Alone

Northwest Coast Indian Art

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Indigenous art of the Northwest Coastal Indians has its origins in the geographic area covering Northern California to Southwestern Alaska. Some familiar tribes include the Chinook, Tlingit, Haida, Coast Salish, Tsimshian, and Quileute. Categorized by such iconic art forms as totem poles, ceremonial masks, basketry and carved panels, this art is defined by the use of bold, stylized shapes and distinct colors. Common subjects include animals, humans, and mythological interpretations incorporated as often to satisfy superstitions, as to honor events or individuals.

Indian art of the Northwest Coast has been identified as far back as 6000 years ago. It is thought that the long months of winter offered these tribes the opportunity to devote this time to their ceremonial traditions and the creation of this symbolic and highly representational art. The artifacts served both function and aesthetics and were utilized for practical as well as ceremonial purposes.

Masks and totem poles are perhaps most synonymous with Northwest Coast Indian art. Cedar, native to the area was readily available and most often used in carving. Common animal subjects in all tribal art forms included ravens, eagles, killer whales, and salmon. These were often depicted as mythological entities, illustrating the transcendence of earthly attributes.

The raven was considered of great importance and thought of as something of an imposter, with the ability to mimic other forms. The eagle’s size and power, symbolized social status and prestige, as well as peace and friendship. Whales and salmon were also familiar motifs. Whales became the subjects of stories handed down by the tribal elders and illustrated through art. Salmon, an abundant food source, were also honorably portrayed.

Native American art of the coastal Indians is unique to this part of North America and has a history rich in lore and tribal traditions. If you are interested in learning more about Northwest Coast Indian art, we are lucky to enjoy fantastic collections in both the Portland Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum. If you’re attending First Thursday, be sure to visit Quintana Galleries. This gallery has specialized in Native American art, including Northwest Coast Indian art for 40 years in the Portland area.

If you would like to view authentic totem poles, put Pioneer Square in Seattle on your list; and if you find yourself in Victoria, BC, Thunderbird Park at the Royal BC Museum.

Even closer to home, we will be showing the sculpture of Alaskan artists Jacques and Mary Regat during the month of October. The work of these fine artists reflects their love of Alaskan culture and heritage. Jacques and Mary will be in the Gallery on First Friday, October 5 to share their art and enjoy the festivities. Be sure to put it on your calendar!