Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Wednesday, October 9


"They enter Avalon in search of gold and leave the gates with the taste of raw steel and fire." 
 -Frohawk Two Feathers describing a scene in his saga

On now at Narwhal Contemporary Art Gallery is We don't need no water Le temps de la Chevauchée,  the latest chapter in an extensive body of work by LA-based visual artist Frohawk Two Feathers.  Since we've admired his work for many years (after a powerful first impression at Art Basel in 2010), we eagerly seized the opportunity to meet the man himself.  And what a meeting. With charm and poetry Two Feathers led us through his work in the gallery space and elaborated on his story, his world, and his comprehensive practice.  The rich and layered portraits that harken to earlier centuries, yet retain a spirit of the present, are only the beginning of the violent, emotional and often humorous narrative that Two Feathers has woven.

Spanning 1640-1880, this complex opus is essentially a revisionist history, exploring the questions, "What if England and France never went to war, but were allies? How would this global struggle between the fictitious combatants 'Frengland' and the 'Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland' determine our contemporary social and political landscape?"  This work offers an imagined alternative to the white, patriarchal and Eurocentric accounts of Western history.  Incorporating a cast of characters that includes assassins, holy men, child soldiers, powerful women, royalty, rebel fighters, and tradesmen, each with their own complicated intentions, Two Feathers' narrative exhibits a profound and compassionate humanity, an ingredient we found to be absent in the history textbooks of our own education.  

Using people he knows personally as subjects for characters in the drama, and drawing inspiration from their specific traits, he paints and writes them into the narrative, creating a very palpable and intimate connection.  He addresses the lost feeling that many North Americans find when searching for their identity:  in connecting with individuals in his imagined history, rather than armies or nations,  you find humanity and realize, as Two Feathers states, "It's not what you are, it's who you are inside."  

There is a strong reference to the qualities of outsider/folk art in the technicality of Two Feathers' drawings.  Folk art is often driven by an innate compulsion to express that which is within, regardless of artistic ability.  Not to say that Two Feathers doesn't have mad skills, but the creative and obsessive drive associated with making outsider art pervades his work and I think is what attracted us to it on first encounter.  The deep and seemingly limitless layers of his practice require serious hours to unearth and contemplate, but through these layers the work gains the ability to resonate with a wide range of people.  Two Feathers told us he identifies as a writer/story-teller first and as a visual artist second. His portraits act as gateways into history and through the revisionist story they tell he may get closer than most to the true history of underdogs, rebels, and rivals.

We don't need no water Le temps de la Chevauchée runs at Narwhal until October 27th
Documentation photos courtesy of Narwhal
Process photo below featuring Kristin Weckworth posing for an upcoming portrait.

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