Aza Erdrich said something I almost never hear from an artist – Synthesis, her latest collection showing at All My Relations gallery, represents one of the happiest times of her life. Hmm – a lesson, beautiful art can come from happiness and contentment. The joy shines through in color selection. But that doesn’t mean the work is flat of one dimensional. The work tracks an exploration of self.
All My Relations describes the show,
” In her premier solo exhibition Erdrich shares works that pull from her life as a young woman of mixed Native and non-Native ancestry growing up in Minneapolis. She draws influence from Annishinaabe artistic traditions and personal experience to create uniquely coded works of self and familial narrative.”
The work is a synthesis of how she sees the different cultures come together in her life. You can see the strong heavy lines of the predominant culture and the patterns prevalent in the Native tradition – in her painting but also in beading work.
There are works that look like puzzles, an apt theme for a young woman, especially one with a foot in multiple cultures. There’s a geometry that’s playful but studied. There are self-portraits as well. An extraordinary elevation of today’s selfie. That is not to diminish the work. I have three young daughters – and selfies are a part of their world in a way that I don’t understand.
Finally is a work that’s different from the rest; it appears to be an image of a woman admits the four elements – perhaps dancing, perhaps leading the element, perhaps being led. The movement in refined detail, the color, the mythology are striking.