“Lance Yazzie: Modern Edge” opens to celebrate the re-emergence of this significant Navajo artist. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. September 6th with an Artist Talk at 5:45 that evening. Eldest son of world-renowned sculptor Larry Yazzie, Lance has been sculpting since he was thirteen with his work represented at the gallery (previously known as Turquoise Tortoise) since he was sixteen. Yazzie has since won first place in sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Best of Division at the Heard Museum in Phoenix and many other awards.
His work represents not only traditional forms of his Navajo (Diné) culture but also contemporary pieces with a modern art feel. The abstract art of a modern style allows for Yazzie’s reflection of a very personal and cultural sensibility to come through; a sensibility that goes directly to the soul of what this artist wishes to express. “When I use negative space in my sculptures, I feel like it allows room for the viewer to get inside the piece,” he says.
When Lance Yazzie creates his contemporary sculpture, he does not try to stay within strict guidelines of Native American art; recent years have seen him bring more textures, images and symbolism to his contemporary pieces. “The symbolism is not only meaningful to Native people but to all of us. I try to leave it open so people can find their own meaning,” Yazzie says. Concepts he has more recently explored reflect designs with origins in traditional Dinè rug patterns or pictographs from cliff-sides. Re-interpreting into three dimensions what these flat images represent Yazzie allows negative space to become a cloud or lightning while carved limestone may become the mountain before it.
It can take up to six months to complete a project and Lance Yazzie always ends up going above and beyond with his efforts. “I learned that from my dad … he taught me that it is like a gift you send with your work.” The exhibition lasts through September 29th.