Artist: Ishi Glinsky
Exhibition title: Monuments to Survival
Venue: Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles, US
Date: March 13 – April 24, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles
Chris Sharp Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the Indigenous, Los Angeles-based artist Ishi Glinsky.
Working in a variety of media, which includes painting, drawing and sculpture,
Ishi Glinsky investigates the traditional practices of his tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation, as well as other North American First Nations to create contemporary homages to sacred events and customs. These investigations often consist of a close study of the history and significance of a craft tradition, the committed apprenticeship of its technique, and its assimilation or transformation within Glinsky’s artistic practice. Each immersive installation, sculpture or painting is a fusion of intertribal celebration and resourcefulness, permanence or evolution, all of which is intimately reflected in the carefully crafted material nature and composition of a given work. A strategy common to Glinsky’s production consists of creating disproportionate shifts in scale in order to both amplify Indigenous practices and stories, and memorialize them in the form of monuments to survival.
His exhibition at Chris Sharp Gallery will function as a kind of survey of his production and will revolve around his monumental leather jacket, Coral Vs King Snake Jacket (2019). Initially exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in 2019, this sculpture is a complex homage to the outsider as a cultural figure of resistance. The jacket is decorated with a variety of insignia which range from the name and sacred symbol of his own tribe to the American Indian Movement of the 70s as well as the recognizable logos of bands and musicians, such as Einstürzende Neubauten, Public Enemy and Dead Kennedys, and fused with the acronym AIM to form hybrid, personalized symbols of resistance. Every aspect of this painstakingly elaborated object, from its arrowhead zipper teeth to its broken-in texture is rife with significance.
This outsized work will be accompanied by a selection of other new and older pieces, which are representative of the artist’s diverse approach to research, materials and media. These works include Tohono O’odham Basket (2013), a sculpture produced from baling wire chain linked, woven and molded to create an interpretation of traditionally woven, baling wire baskets of the Tohono O’odham people; Blue Rider (2019), a piece from his From Hides to Linen (Repeat) series, which consist of enlarged half-tone reproductions of photographed iconography originally painted on teepees and hides from the 1700s to the 1900s; and Aka Ricky the Rat (2020), a scaled-up, exquisitely crafted replica of a piece of artisanal Zuni jewelry, fashioned out of aluminum and resin. Friend ore Foe (2021), a new production, is an ink, wax pastel work, inspired by Plains tribes’ ledger drawings from the 19th century, depicting a goods trader from the 1880s. Known to befriend or betray their indigenous counterparts, these figures of westward, ore-seeking expansion, akin to the one portrayed here, took on an ambiguous, if minatory character.
Ishi Glinsky (b. Tucson, AZ, 1982) is an artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He has exhibited at MOCA Tucson, Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Human Resources Los Angeles, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery with solo shows at These Days LA and Open Studio Tokyo, Japan. In 2021 Glinsky will install a public art installation for the State of California at the California Natural Resources Agency in Sacramento.