Davidson Explores, Revives and Transforms Traditional Northwest Coast Designs
The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, will host an exhibition of Robert Davidson’s works of the past decade. Organized by the Seattle Art Museum in collaboration with the Heye Center, this is the first major exhibition of his work in the United States; it opened in Seattle in fall 2013. On view at the Heye Center from April 12 through Sept. 14, this will be the exhibition’s only presentation on the East Coast.
Of Haida and Tlingit descent, Davidson is well known as a master carver of monumental totem poles, masks and bold abstractions on paper and canvas. His impeccable craftsmanship and distinctive style are appreciated by Haida and contemporary arts scholars. Davidson is descended from a long line of respected artists and began learning his craft from his father and grandfather at the age of 13. By 22, he had completed the first totem pole to be erected in his ancestral village of Massett, British Columbia, in more than 90 years. Davidson worked to explore, revive and transform Haida designs and traditions, and he quickly emerged as a pivotal and influential Northwest Coast artist. Recently, Davidson’s work has moved beyond traditional Haida imagery, pushing into a more abstracted form of expression. Through his creative influence and his deep knowledge of Haida culture, Davidson’s works and those of his contemporaries have become highly sought after by museums and collectors worldwide.
The exhibition will feature 45 paintings, sculptures and prints created since 2005 and key works from Davidson’s early years that capture the evolution of his depth and artistry, demonstrating a blend of the traditional and the contemporary. “Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse” is curated by Barbara Brotherton, curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum.
Major support for “Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse” is provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The MacRae Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Port Madison Enterprises and the Eugene V. and Clare Thaw Charitable Trust.