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Untitled © 2009
Whitehorse, Emmi
H:34 x W:24
Born in Crownpoint, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation, Emmi Whitehorse attended a government boarding school and showed an early fascination for drawing horses. As a professional artist, she is known for her serene, dream-like abstract images, often with symbolic meaning of her culture. Many of these images suggest plant forms or animals. Philosophically, she is a strong feminist.
Her mentors include her grandmother and her junior high art teacher, Kathleen Hueser, as well as Harmony Hammond at the University of New Mexico. From Hammond, she learned to free herself from from traditional methods and to work on large surfaces or grounds rather than smaller, more constraining ones.
Her method is to layer chalk, turpentine and oil on paper and then draw with oil bars and litho crayons. Then she glues the paper to canvas and achieves a soft, atmospheric effect.
She was raised near Chaco Canyon and grew to love the Southwest landscape. Her Native American family lived a nomadic existence and did not have modern conveniences such as electricity. For about six years, she lived away from her home state, moving to Connecticut, but separation from her own culture had a negative effect on her work, and she returned to New Mexico.