Dwayne Wilcox: Above the Fruited Plains
Missoula Art Museum
June 1 – October 21, 2012
Missoula Art Museum is delighted to host Dwayne Wilcox: Above the Fruited Plains. Wilcox’s approach is quite simple; he uses graphite and colored pencils to alter old ledger paper. Ledger Art has a rich history with the Plains people, but like many contemporary artists, Wilcox uses the ledger paper as a platform for contemporary expression. Wilcox is unique amongst many of the contemporary ledger artists, for his work is steeped in humor and irony. And while one finds strong design principles present in Ledger Art, Wilcox consistently adds the additional element of a resolved narrative. He states, “The culture I grew up in has a wonderful place for humor, it is also medicine, and I would hope to show this to the outside world”.
Ledger Art is a term for Plains Indian narrative drawing or painting on paper or cloth. Ledger Art flourished primarily from the 1860s to the 1920s. The term comes from the accounting ledger books that were a common source of paper for Plains Indians. Most scholars agree that Ledger Art evolved from Plains hide painting. A contemporary revival of Ledger Art began in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although not formally trained in the arts, Wilcox has conducted extensive independent research on Ledger Art. He states, “The past twenty three years I have followed my dream of doing my life’s calling as a full time artist. I view my profession as a tool to enlighten those who wish to expand their knowledge of the Lakota people to the best of my ability.” It is important to note that Wilcox pokes fun and by doing so, brings to light the fact that there are different ways of looking at the world that are inherently cultural.
Wilcox lives in Rapid City, SD. His work is included in permanent collections at the University of Arkansas, Charles M. Russell Museum, South Dakota State University, Red Cloud Indian School, Akta Lakota Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Dakota Prairie Museum and the Peabody Museum. The exhibition will be hosted in the Lynda M. Frost Contemporary American Indian Art Gallery. This gallery is dedicated to honor the creative cultural contributions of American Indian people to contemporary art, and to ensure that Indian artists will always have a place to celebrate that contribution.