Parker Arts | Art Gallery Exhibits

Tell Me a Story
Matt Christie  |  Frank Sampson  |  Janey Skeer  |  Melanie Yazzie

PACE Center Art Gallery

December 28, 2017 – February 14, 2018

This exhibition explores the question of where art comes from and the concept of tapping into one’s psyche for inspiration. I’m intrigued by artists who use reality as a jumping-off point, artists such as Matt Christie whose work materializes out of memories as well as his love of nature and the ability to recall his dreams when awake and then discuss with his wife, a Jungian philosopher. Paintings of structures, such as the one in this show of a house caught in the branches of a winter tree and of boys hopeful for spring, are the subconscious at play, stories of his life strung together in a visual dialogue. 

Melanie Yazzie, a charismatic woman of Navajo descent, draws from stories she learned in childhood, stories that are familiar from telling and retelling so much so that they are part of her very being. Because she has witnessed so much tragedy in her life, she chooses to instead focus on the beauty of the world. Her work is about bringing nature and joy and art into harmony. Each painting tells a story of her people, her tribe, her family and of her own personal mythology. 

Now in his nineties, Frank Sampson’s work is a sort of retelling of his mother’s stories. Sampson and his four brothers grew up in North Dakota on a farm. Their prime entertainment was their mother who wove glorious tales of adventure. No wonder his art is so rich in fairytale lands where wild beasts roam peacefully—and has been for nearly seventy years.

Janey Skeer looks at faces for inspiration, looks and wonders and lets her hands feel their way through emotions she interprets in clay. Though the eyes tend to be covered, her work has a universal sense—not just a self-reflection but of observation and non-judgement. 

There are many stories in this exhibit, many storytellers. Though I was tempted to ask artists to fill in the blanks—to describe and explain certain pieces—I decided that it would be much more fun to have you, the viewer, do that for yourself. Enjoy.

-Rose Fredrick, curator