Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Congratulations to Jeanne Rorex Bridges

Congratulations to Jeanne Rorex Bridges! Ms. Martha Griffin-White, an Oklahoma patron of the arts, has purchased all eighteen of the paintings that illustrate Tim Tingle's story Crossing Bok Chitto, and she donated the complete collection to the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The museum, which is known throughout the world for its outstanding collection of Native American Art, will make the paintings available to other museums and institutions for future exhibitions. This has been exactly what Jeanne had wanted. She has in the past refused to sell the illustrations separately. She felt that the paintings tell a complete story about Choctaw history and she did not want to see the collection divided into pieces. We at Cinco Puntos wholeheartedly agree. Besides being one of the most successful of our books, we believe that Crossing Bok Chitto is one of the most important books that we have published. It tells an important and long-forgotten piece of American history for our young people.

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.”

2 comments:

Cinco Puntos Press said...

THIS IS A NOTE FROM MARY ROBINSON, DIRECTOR OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES MUSEUM:

The Board of Directors and staff of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum are thrilled and thankful to be the proud owners of the original artwork from "Crossing Bok Chitto". Martha Griffin White is the generous donor of this beautiful collection.This book has touched so many lives and we are honored to be able to share this great story with the world.

The artwork will be available for other museums, libraries or art galleries as a traveling exhibit. It is currently on display at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City until January 1, 2010.

I love Jeanne and Tim, they are the best.

Cinco Puntos Press said...

ANOTHER REASON TO CELEBRATE JEANNE ROREX BRIDGES IN THIS NEW NOTE FROM MARY ROBINSON, DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES--

Bobby,
I forgot to tell you, Jeanne was awarded the title of Master Artist at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum on Saturday. This is the highest honor we give to an artist that has excelled in their artwork. The program began in 1973 with Willard Stone, Fred Beaver, and Solomon McCombes becoming the first and today we have a total of 37 artists in the program. Jeanne is well deserving of this title, her work if proof of that.
Thanks including me.
Mary