Join us for the closing reception for the exhibition of paintings by Terri Saul.
Joseph Campbell would call artist Terri Saul a practitioner of mythic imagination. And in so doing she is defiantly working with the rule of abundance where one can only find endless possibilities. Terri is at work drawing themes and imagery from the seemingly opposing sources of her ancestral Choctaw/Chickasaw history and current iconography of popular Western culture. She is both an American woman rooted by an indigenous bloodline and a representative of an ever-growing as yet unnamed contemporary social fabric defining what will be the norm of future generations. Our cohesive American culture, still befuddled with the ideas of race can only muster words like “mixed” that far and away miss the proper mark of just what such a person truly is, more an edge-walker, a mythic figure in her own right, able to cross boundaries and divides without a sound and offer up a clear keen vision, a portal, a visionary.
At once enigmatic and playful, the imagery such as in the painting “Blanket Trade” delves more deeply under the surface than a glance would allow. In fact, the playfulness is a specific visual commentary revealing the more profound understanding of the importance for the healing found through the essential quality of humor in grave subjects such as the delivery of smallpox to Native American tribes through the blanket trade. Terri adds another layer of humor by drawing a connection to the Tour de France “King of the Mountain” jersey worn by the cyclist in that race who wins the climbing stages and the role of the clown in tribal rituals from the Apache to the Sioux to the Inuit. As Black Elk said, the people are made “to feel jolly and happy at first, so that it may be easier for the power to come to them.” Indeed, very much like the archetypal fool setting out on the journey of life without a care for the events that may befall him.
Again, a reference to greater depths, in “Sedna in Santa Cruz” we find a leaping sea goddess, suddenly revealing herself above her realm, the Inuit underworld, if only for the blink of an eye, so quick a flash that one would be left wondering, did I really just see what I saw? A brilliant and mischievous painting that perhaps suggests to the viewer to trust one’s own truth brought up from a depth no matter how fleeting. In fact, trust is much of what Terri Saul is masterfully working with in her art practice.
Lisa Carroll, Curator