Emmi Whitehorse’s paintings combine formal depth and environmental interconnectivity through layered shades of red and curvilinear forms. Born and raised on a Navajo reservation, Whitehorse’s abstract forms are inspired by the Southwestern landscape and traditional wool-dying and weaving techniques. Alongside her grandmother, she learned to color wool with natural dye, the fibers left to dry under the sun. The dye would seep into the earth, leaving temporary stains of color. Whitehorse translated the sense of chaos and variation found in those colorful splotches into her artworks.
Working in the round, the artist positions paper on a flat surface so that orientation is determined through the process of making. Whitehorse attributes this approach to Navajo cultural and community traditions. As the artist described in 1997, “That sense of roundness is ingrained in you. Your house is built in the round. There is no square. Square seems to deprive the life force.”
Chalk, graphite, pastel and oil on paper mounted on canvas
Sheet: 38 1/2 × 50 in. (97.8 × 127 cm)
mount: 39 9/16 × 51 1/16 × 2 1/4 in. (100.5 × 129.7 × 5.7 cm) (show scale)
Signed LL verso: "#1179 'FIRE WEED'/7/1998/monogram.../_.horse"
Signed LR: "///"
Gift of Hinrich Peiper and Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf in honor of Emmi Whitehorse
This item is not on view
Emmi Whitehorse (Navajo, born 1957). Fire Weed, 1998. Chalk, graphite, pastel and oil on paper mounted on canvas, Sheet: 38 1/2 × 50 in. (97.8 × 127 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Hinrich Peiper and Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf in honor of Emmi Whitehorse, 2006.49. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.49_PS1.jpg)
overall, 2006.49_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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© Emmi Whitehorse
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