516 ARTS presents a solo show curated by Suzanne Newman Fricke, PhD, The (Tense) Present: New Works by Neal Ambrose-Smith, in which the artist combines a range of imagery and media to create a complex reflection on current events. Ambrose-Smith demonstrates his technical skills, mixing painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking, including monotypes that measure over 10 feet long. His art references specific current events – including climate change, the current political situation, and Covid-19 – with cartoon cats, Marvin the Martian, Alice in Wonderland, Star Trek, and Joan Miró. A descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana, his work often includes elements surrounding Indigenous knowledge, including bundles, canoes, trailer homes, and the Trickster figure Coyote. In Neal Ambrose-Smith’s visions, the present is overlaid with images from the past since we can only understand where we now are by understanding our cultural influences.
This exhibition is on view in the downstairs gallery concurrently with Perfect Union: Afton Love in the upstairs gallery.
Neal Ambrose-Smith (b. 1966) holds an MFA degree in printmaking from the University of New Mexico, teaches painting and printmaking at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He and has shown his prints internationally in South Korea, France, Ireland, and across the US., and has taught new tech printmaking workshops at universities and conferences for more than a decade. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Ambrose-Smith collaborated on sculpture projects and shows with his mother Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. He worked for The Joan Mitchell Foundation’s CALL program (Creating a Living Legacy) in New York from 2007 to 2014 as a research consultant and program developer. Currently he is Chair of the Studio Arts Department at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he heads the printmaking program (2015-present). His work is in many collections, including the New York Public Library Print Collection; the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Flint Institute, Michigan; Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea; Denver Art Museum; Monash University, Gippsland, Australia; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis; Cork Printmakers Collection, Cork, Ireland; Missoula Art Museum; Tia Collection and Salish Kootenai College, Montana.