BRENDA KINGERY

Born into the Chickasaw Nation and educated in fine art painting and drawing, Brenda Kingery paints her heart. She combines her rural Oklahoma background with experiences of living in the Ryukyuan Islands of Japan, where she studied with master artists, artisans, and craftsmen. Additional travels in Mexico, Central America, and Uganda, where she worked with native people, are woven into the tapestry of all her works. Kingery's paintings are mixed media, sometimes acrylic and sometimes oil, with occasional additions of mica and small found objects, applied and hidden like secrets within many layers of paint. Her works on paper are done in the Sumi-e style with single, sweeping strokes. The paintings tell the stories that Kingery remembers from those her grandmother told her as a child. They show pow-wow dancers telling their stories, classical Odori dancers remembering their stories, and people in Central Africa living their stories. Her work, filled with life, movement, and memories, is a celebration of the shared history of indigenous cultures.

Kingery's work is included in many private, corporate, and public collections worldwide. She is a founding member of Threads of Blessing International and travels to Honduras, Mexico, and Uganda to teach textile design in workshops that encourage women to use their indigenous artistic skills. In 2007, Kingery was appointed by the President of the United States to the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Native Alaskans in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has exhibited in Milan, Italy; Paris, France; Oklahoma City, OK; Santa Fe, NM; Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan; Indianapolis, IN; Washington, DC; and San Antonio, TX.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My paintings have been described as Narrative Symbolism, beginning with thin acrylic washes. The next stage in the process may be as many as 25 layers of thin, handpainted lines and more layers of washes that define the composition. The lines are almost like tapestries that are telling stories visually. Textile and dance are major components in my paintings. The paintings begin abstractly and move as in dance, becoming a visual record of cultures. Art becomes the embodiment of culture, recording visually a cultural identity.