WMU News

Native American artist exhibits paintings

March 13, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- "Stargate Codices," a painting exhibition by Native American artist Colleen Cutschall will be featured in Gallery II, Sangren Hall, March 26 through April 13. Gallery II is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is handicapped accessible.

Cutschall will be an artist-in-residence in the WMU Department of Art, March 26-27. She will give a slide lecture on her work on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in Room 1213, Sangren Hall. A reception will be held in Gallery II immediately following the lecture. All events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr.-Cesar Chavez-Rosa Parks Visiting Professors Program.

Colleen Cutschall's tribal affiliation is Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge, South Dakota. A painter and installation artist, her artistic goals are to educate and inspire her viewers about Lakota myth, world view and the ritual role of women. She incorporates ideas from various cultures, both old and new, as well as Lakota, about creation, evolution and catastrophism with themes about the stars and their relationship with Native peoples. Regarding House Made of Stars, a previous series, Cutschall talked about how native architecture was dictated by the stars, and how tipis are in fact astrological observatories. These observatories helped the Lokota contact their ancestors. Also, they believe that the Milky Way is actually a "highway to the house of the dead." Celestial knowledge was a means for keeping balance and structure in Lakota life.

The newest portions of Cutschall's exhibit include ideas on ancient Summerian technology, Mayan genetics, theories about the end of the Mayan calendar and the reversal of time. Through tipi doors (stargates), Cutschall asks us to question and revise narrow belief systems about the origin and structure of the universe. A series of books (codices) will round out this thought provoking exhibit.

Cutschall received the B.F.A. degree from Barat College, Lake Forest, Ill., in 1973 and an M.S. degree in Education from Black Hills State College, Spearfish, S.D. Currently, she teaches Native issues at Brandon University, Manitoba, in the Visual Arts Department. Over the past five years she has participated in numerous group exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon.

Cutschall has participated in group exhibitions at: St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre, Manitoba; South Dakota State University, Brookings; Ace Art, Winnipeg; Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario; and Central Michigan University Art Gallery, Mount Pleasant. Her solo exhibitions include: "Voice in the Blood," organized by the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and which toured to numerous locations in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Canada; "Catching the Sun's Tail," Richardson Library, Brandon University Foundation; and "Sister Wolf in Her Moon," at Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario.

Cutschall actively lectures and presents papers not only on her own work, but on current issues in aboriginal culture. Her work is included in numerous public collections in both Canada and the United States.

For more information, contact the Department of Art Exhibitions Office at 616 387-2455.

Media contact: Jackie Ruttinger, 616 387-4678, jacquelyn.ruttinger@wmich.edu

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