Pickens Museum Acquires "War Club" by Yatika Starr Fields

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Pickens Museum Acquires "War Club" by Yatika Starr Fields

“"War Club" by Native American Artist Yatika Starr Fields was recently acquired from Garth Greenam Gallery to Pickens Museum. Personal and social struggle have long been integral to the artist’s practice. After joining the Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Fields increasingly centered the Indigenous history of hope and struggle in his work, particularly in his studio practice. In his 2017 series, Tent Metaphor Standing Rock, Field recovered tents after the infamous February 22, 2017 police raid on the protesters. The artist recombined the vivid tenting material—the mainstay of middle-class camping holidays that has become an icon of homelessness and protest movements—into traditional Indigenous patterns, anti-pipeline slogans, and into dynamic, compelling abstract compositions. As in his graffiti works, Fields blurs the line between abstraction and representation, creating stylistic compositions out of recognizable elements, and setting them against dynamic, swirling fields of color and twisting forms. The works blur the boundaries between political polemic and abstraction, between distress, resistance and hope.

Pickens Museeum announced the qcquisition of "War Club", a major piece by Native Artist Yatika Staff Fields from Garth Greenan Gallery in NYC which has a one man show for Yatika Starr Fields: Fear Not, an exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Yatika Fields. Opening on Thursday, January 27, 2022, the exhibition is the artist's first at Garth Greenan Gallery.

Mingling oil and spray paint, Fields surveys urban and political landscapes, exploring their potent symbolism and metaphorical content. In one painting, an abstracted oil pump’s jack and drill bits churn through a murky green and black landscape. Working through personal and societal struggle, Fields created many of the works in Fear Not during the pandemic—with each mark on the canvas forming an attempt to commune and persevere with the collective through unprecedented times.

In each work, movement and color channel story and ceremony. In the Osage Shield series, for example, the artist reframes the Oklahoma flag’s symbolic grouping of the buffalo hide shield, peace pipe, and European olive branch as, at best, a self-protective fiction and, at worst, a deliberate attempt to obscure a darker reality. In one work of the series, the shield is converted from the flag’s flat abstraction into a three-dimensional orb, surreally hovering above the Oklahoma landscape. The original designer of Oklahoma’s flag expropriated the Osage shield—a sacred object used both in battle and spiritual practice—transforming it into a symbol of “defense of the state.” Even more perversely, the Oklahoma flag was wielded by one of the first to breach the Capitol on the sixth of January. Fields returns the expropriation, encircling the Osage peace pipe with a protective wrapping of barbed wire. The artist renders the pipe in vivid detail, restoring it to its traditional form. Oklahoma’s crepuscular landscape is dotted with the glittering lights of cars, trucks, homes, and businesses—reminders of the instrumental conversion of earth into property and resource. Power lines traverse the scenery, stretching between posts marking territorial expansion.

Personal and social struggle have long been integral to the artist’s practice. After joining the Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Fields increasingly centered the Indigenous history of hope and struggle in his work, particularly in his studio practice. In his 2017 series, Tent Metaphor Standing Rock, Field recovered tents after the infamous February 22, 2017 police raid on the protesters. The artist recombined the vivid tenting material—the mainstay of middle-class camping holidays that has become an icon of homelessness and protest movements—into traditional Indigenous patterns, anti-pipeline slogans, and into dynamic, compelling abstract compositions. As in his graffiti works, Fields blurs the line between abstraction and representation, creating stylistic compositions out of recognizable elements, and setting them against dynamic, swirling fields of color and twisting forms. The works blur the boundaries between political polemic and abstraction, between distress, resistance and hope.

Born in 1980 in Tulsa, Yatika Starr Fields is a member of the Cherokee, Mvskoke (Creek), and Osage Nations. Fields studied landscape painting at the University of Oklahoma’s Sienna, Italy summer program before enrolling at the Art Institute of Boston from 2001 to 2004. While living on the East Coast, Fields developed a keen interest in street art. His dynamic, vibrant graffiti works quickly attracted attention, generating public and private mural commissions in Portland, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Bentonville and Siloam Springs, and Urique, CHIH, Mexico.

Fields has participated in more than 40 solo and group exhibitions at venues across the United States and Europe, including: the Southern Plains Indian Museum (2008, Anadarko, Oklahoma); Chiaroscuro Contemporary (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Santa Fe); BlueRain Gallery (2015, 2016, 2018, Santa Fe); Peabody Essex Museum, (2015–2016, Salem, MA); Rainmaker Gallery (2017, Bristol, UK); the Grand Palais (2018, Paris); Philbrook Museum of Art (2018, Tulsa); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, 2019); and the Gilcrease Museum, (2019, Tulsa).

Fields’s paintings are featured in private collections and the collections of museums across the country, including: Heard Museum (Phoenix); Hood Museum (Dartmouth College); Oklahoma State Museum of Art; Peabody Essex Museum; and Sam Noble Museum (University of Oklahoma, Norman).

Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Yatika Starr Fields.

War Club relation to Red Power

Yatiksa wrote on his Instagram feem onf that "War Club is a symbol of Native resistance and a metaphor for the art of activism. Through storytelling and community gathering, this intergenerational collaboration honors Oklahoma’s Red Power movements in the face of colonial displacement and genocide. Organized by mother-son artists @nativefields and @yatikafields War Club consists of public panels, culminating in a portrait exhibition of regional Indigenous activists.

About Pickens Museum

Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. Seeking to attain his tribe's highest war honor by touching his enemy. This action among indigenous peoples is called "Counting Coup".
Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. “Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp” is a bronze created by Osage Artist John Free. The bronze, eight feet high and twelve feet long) was enlarged to 1-1/4 life size through the efforts of John Free of the Bronze Horse foundry in Pawhuska and Hugh Pickens. Pictured (L-R): Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. “Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” is a mural painted by fine artist Daniel Pickens. Daniel was born in Lima, Peru in 1974 and is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. This mural is at our Ponca City location.
“"War Club" by Native Artist Yatika Starr Fields was recently acquired from Garth Greenam Gallery to Pickens Museum. Personal and social struggle have long been integral to the artist’s practice. After joining the Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Fields increasingly centered the Indigenous history of hope and struggle in his work, particularly in his studio practice. In his 2017 series, Tent Metaphor Standing Rock, Field recovered tents after the infamous February 22, 2017 police raid on the protesters. The artist recombined the vivid tenting material—the mainstay of middle-class camping holidays that has become an icon of homelessness and protest movements—into traditional Indigenous patterns, anti-pipeline slogans, and into dynamic, compelling abstract compositions. As in his graffiti works, Fields blurs the line between abstraction and representation, creating stylistic compositions out of recognizable elements, and setting them against dynamic, swirling fields of color and twisting forms. The works blur the boundaries between political polemic and abstraction, between distress, resistance and hope.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. Our mural "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" is located in City Central at our Ponca City location.
Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry and Art. Pickens Museum displays art works at NOC Tonkawa campus. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum, and Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College) This art is at our Tonkawa location
Native American Artist Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum.
The World's Largest Naja. Future location of Pickens Museum on Route 60 and "U" Street West of Ponca City
Architectural Renderings of Pickens Museum.
Aerial View from East of Future location of Pickens Museum along Route 60 at "U" Street West of Ponca City
Display of Turquoise Jewelry.
Drum player by Allan Houser. This stone carving is part of the collection at Pickens Museum.
"Red Man" by Native American Artist Fritz Scholder. Pickens Museum Director Hugh Pickens on right.
Osage Warior in the Enemy Camp.
Native American Jewelry Artist Tonya Rafael with a silver frame she created to honor my wife Sr. S.J. Pickens. My wife and Tonya worked together over the years creating new jewelry art pieces. My wife had an eye for color and would often design a spectacular piece and ask Tonya to execute it for her. A skilled silversmith, Tonya would sometimes stay in our guest house, set up a workshop, and work for days at a time on a Squash Blossom, Bolo, or Bracelet my wife commissioned. The piece is a silver picture frame that Tonya cut out of thick silver plate. Around the edge of the picture frame are 95 small turquoise stones. In the top is a large spiny oyster stone in the shape of a heart. The frame contains a photo that Tonya took of my wife a few years ago. Dr. Pickens is wearing one of her favorite outfits and if you look closely you can see a special squash blossom and necklace that Tonya created for my wife. In the bottom of the frame is an inscription.
Native American Artist Jolene Bird. Jolene Bird is an accomplished artist who learned her craft from her grandfather over 20 years ago. Jolene makes her jewelry in the tradition of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. This is a Fender Stratocaster guitar onto which Jolene has attached pieces of Kingman and Sonoran Turquoise highlighted with Jet. The stars are in Abalone, Mother of Pearl, Pipestone, Yellow Serpentine, and Spiny Oyster. The artistry in this piece is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed. Consider that this is a three dimensional mosaic, a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle if you will. Jolene told me that each individual piece of turquoise had to be cut, shaped, and ground down to fit perfectly with the other pieces. Each individual piece probably took six to eight hours to produce and there are literally hundreds of pieces covering the guitar.
American Indian by Paul Manship This piece at Pickens Museum is the only known existing copy of this sculpture.
Painting by Peruvian Artist Josue Sanchez. Photo Credit: Hugh Pickens Pickens Museum

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