Rickey Nez is a self-taught, postwar contemporary Navajo sculptor working in the medium of carved stone. Nez’s work is rife with ancient Indigenous spiritual and cultural symbols. Carvings both transport the viewer to the distant past and also into the present moment of Native American life. The inspiration for Rickey Nez’s art is generated by the people who surround him, as well as their ancestors. Once Nez has sketched his ideas, he then begins to chisel the stone by utilizing hand and power tools. After the figure has emerged, the finishing process begins; every part of the sculpture is meticulously sanded until it gleams like a jewel and is silky smooth to the touch.
Being stationed in Europe gave Rickey Nez a true appreciation for the artistic depth of his own Indigenous heritage. During his tour in Nuremberg, Germany, Nez spent much of his free time frequenting museums and art galleries, absorbing the styles and legacy of the great artists in the European tradition.
Returning to his home on the Navajo reservation in Fruitland, New Mexico, Nez began to grasp the extent of his own commitment to the arts as well as of his motivation to create sculpture in stone. The artist rapidly gained a noteworthy reputation among his fellow Native American sculptors, and this transferred rapidly to private collectors across the United States.
Rickey Nez is a member of the Indigenous Sculptor’s Society. He lives and works in New Mexico and his work is represented at numerous galleries throughout the American southwest.