January 1, 2008

"The Tears of a Broken Hearted Ojibway" by Star Wallowing Bull

tears of a broken hearted ojibway.jpg
"The Tears of a Broken Hearted Ojibway"
Star Wallowing Bull
Prisma Color Pencil

As I was wondering around the Weisman one Saturday I came across a piece that was tucked in the corner somewhat. I didn't know really what the other works around were either, so I'm not sure if this was part of one of the exhibits or just a piece the Weisman was displaying for the time being. But you could not help but be visually stimulated by it, if your eye caught it at all it would have to turn to at least see what it was you were being called by. I walked over and at first was completely overwhelmed by all of the dramatic, bright, vibrant colors being used in the abstract drawing. It was a really 'busy' piece in that it was hard to stay focused on any particular aspect initially. I looked at the label for the artwork and then after seeing that it was a work done by an American Indian I started to really zone in on all of the symbolism found throughout the work. Like I said, the bright (almost neon-like) colors draw attention to certain areas of the drawing including the tears running down the man's face along with a visible shatter line in the man's heart. There are a lot of traditional Indian symbols throughout including the man wearing native clothes, incorporation of animals, and the acknowledge of the intimate relationship with nature in general. However, there also is frequent reference to alcohol as well, symbolizing how the man may be turning to alcohol as a form of coping with his intensely broken heart. Another interesting use of symbols within the drawing is how, within the center segment of the drawing, on the viewers left-hand side is a falling star and then on the right-hand side is rising bird (possibly a Phoenix). I took this to mean that initially the emotion and pain the man is going through is tough to handle but how he will rise again and find his way out of it - especially considering the bird appears to be flying toward an exit sign within the bar-like background. Overall I thought the most powerful and attention drawing aspect of the work was how the artist use vibrant colors to draw attention to certain areas of the work and emphasize. All of the symbols and different segments of the work are in some way connected back to the center image. Definately cool (I know, a very 'art-sy' and technical comment, ha).