Below is Jeanne's "Artist's Statement" that she prepared for our website. And below that is a brief description of, and some images depicting, the style of "The Kiowa Five," the work of whom she first encountered as a student at Bacone College in Muskogee.
I am of Cherokee Indian descent and I have been a professional artist for 25 years. I am best known by collectors of Native American Art and most of my awards were in Native American Art competitions. My art education began at age 28 when I attended Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma; a private junior college known as the Indian College. My classes included courses in Indian Art. This flat style (see the info quoted below about the Kiowa Five) of painting was immediately natural for me. To produce Indian Art, you should understand the human anatomy, the tradition and history of Indian people, and be able to portray your feelings in the work. Indian Art is not just a "pretty picture."
The Oklahoma Flat Style is simply that you apply solid color in the shape of, for example, a woman in a blanket. To create that initial shape, you must understand the position of her shoulders, arms and back under the blanket. Pure Indian Art would only allow fine lines of another color and/or gradual changes of flat colors to "shade" the blanket. Over the years, I have developed my own style by keeping the basic Flat Style but adding background work and shading. I have always mixed my own colors from tube paints because I like lots of color but muted, softer colors.
Tim Tingle's story of Crossing Bok Chitto was inspiring to portray. The relationships of kindness and protection, the strength of the women, the shared history of Native and African Americans, and Faith were all in this story. Please refer to my website and see my five paintings of Native and African American women together.
If you would like more information or have any specific questions for me, please call my studio 1-800-681-9366.
--Jeanne Rorex Bridges
The artwork of the Kiowa Five is well known for its representational, narrative style with ceremonial and social scenes of Kiowa life as their subject matter. Many of the oral traditions in the Kiowa culture express the purity and distinct colors of their native landscape. In many colorful paintings, using flat planes of color in bold and direct figures, the Kiowa Five developed a distinctive cultural style, still emulated today. As students of the University of Oklahoma, they received formal art training and wide national and international exhibitions of their artistic skill and finesse with paint, pottery and dance. Travel in the 20’s and 30’s was a unique opportunity for them to follow the age--old Kiowa tradition, to “journey to the four corners of the Earth.”