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Running Rabbit: The Work of Kevin Red Star

March 25 - July 17, 2005


Running Rabbit: The Work of Kevin Red Star is a major exhibition of the art of Crow Indian and Montana native artist, Kevin Red Star, featuring over 45 colorful, dramatic, large-scale paintings and selected lithographs. The exhibition celebrates works that explore Kevin Red Star's tribal history and the myths and legends of the Crow people. Red Star's signature painting style incorporates brilliant colors and carefully rendered, dramatic compositions that are at turns vividly realistic and yet also atmospheric and dreamlike. In his paintings, realism ultimately gives way to stark, semi-abstract imagery that combines remarkable detail with bold gestures, intense, moody backgrounds, a wonderfully unique color palette, and a liberal use of spatter technique -- all trademarks of Kevin Red Star's bold yet poetic lyrical painting style. (right: Kevin Red Star, A Visionary's Well-Being Dream, 2002, 60 x 48 inches, acrylic on canvas, collection of the Kevin Red Star Gallery)

Kevin Red Star was born on the Crow Reservation in 1943 in Lodge Grass, Montana. The third oldest in a family of nine children, he grew up in a family that valued music, art, and culture. His parents' interest in the arts helped foster his early love for drawing and art-his mother, Amy Bright Wings, is well known for her fine beadwork, and his father was a passionate musician. In 1962, during his second year of high school, Kevin Red Star was selected to attend the newly created Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) In Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he was exposed to the history and cultures of many North American Indian nations, and it was while he was a student in Santa Fe that he began his deep and abiding study of and appreciation for his native Crow culture.

In 1965 while attending the San Francisco Art Institute following his studies at IAIA, Red Star was exposed to the political and social energies of contemporary, post-modern art. This experience led him to many experiments in his art, including incorporating mixed media and collage, and he began exploring painting in new ways, pushing the boundaries of traditional portraiture and composition. He also studied art at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, and at Eastern Montana College in Billings. In 1971, the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, Montana, offered him his first one-person exhibition.

From 1975 through 1985 Red Star established gallery affiliations in Santa Fe and in other cities -- he was also the first IAIA graduate to return to Santa Fe as a Visiting Artist -­ and during this time he exhibited extensively throughout the United States and overseas. In 1987 Red Star left the hectic Southwest gallery scene and returned to Montana, making his home outside Red Lodge, Montana, where he lives and works today.

In the years since his return to Montana, Red Star has emerged as one of the seminal artists of the Northern Plains, and has become an important historian, recorder, and ambassador for his native Crow nation and culture. He is a board member of the Institute of American Indian Art, in Santa Fe, NM and a board member of the Harvard Project, New York, NY. (right: Kevin Red Star, The General, 1989, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches, Museum Permanent Collection, Gift of the Harold Ruth family, 1990)

Running Rabbit is an important exhibition -- the largest overview of Red Star's painting ever offered in our region-and celebrates an artist at the height of his powers, an artist who, through his creativity and his spirit, reminds us of the depth and long history of the High Plains Native American culture and its rich traditions.

Kevin Red Star maintains a web site at http://www.kevinredstar.com wich notes that

Among the museums holding Kevin Red Star originals in their permanent collections are the Smithsonian Institution; Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe; Denver Art Museum; the Heard Museum in Phoenix; the Peirre Cardin Collection in Paris; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis; and museums in Belgium; China; Germany; and Japan, and most recently The Whitney Museum of Western Art in Cody, Wyoming.

RL readers may also enjoy this earlier article on Kevin Red Star:


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