The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

September 13, 2013

Christine McHorse exhibit at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art fearlessly weds tradition and imagination

NORMAN — Santa Fe artist Christine Nofchissey McHorse fearlessly weds the traditions of pottery and sculpture into ceramic works that challenge the imagination in upcoming Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art exhibit

Breaking things in a ceramics studio is not usually how artist’s careers are made. In Christine McHorse’s case, shattering the archetype of Native American pottery has sent reverberations throughout the art world and achieved her international success.

Now, the series of ceramics that contributed to this sensation are being exhibited during “Dark Light: the Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse” at the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Sept. 14 to Jan. 12, 2014. A total of 18 ceramic works and 13 drawings will be on display.

McHorse’s paradigm-busting saga began in earnest nearly two decades ago. In 1995 she entered one of her innovative ceramic pieces in the sculpture division of Santa Fe, N.M.’s highly competitive Indian Market art competition. Historically winners in the sculpture category had been men working with heavy important bronze or beautifully colored marble, evocative of art over past centuries. She won the prize for best sculpture which was a first for a potter and a woman.

McHorse had simply ignored pretension, discounted any potential misogyny among the judges and allowed her own three-dimensional artistic imagination to rise to a new level. This work has often puzzled other artists where she resides in New Mexico and among Indian art work collectors. Her pieces don’t necessarily suggest that they were rendered by a Native American.

McHorse was raised in a family of nine children by parents who encouraged intellectual curiosity and unbridled creativity.

“My older sisters Alberta and Arlene were always doing arts and crafts projects,” McHorse said. “Painting, making beadwork, their own Christmas cards and teaching me all that they knew.”

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