Wendy Red Star makes art that arises from her Native American cultural heritage and family history, as well as her expansive interest in photography, video, sound, sculpture, fiber arts, and performance. Red Star’s artistic practice involves ongoing research into historical archives and narratives, which she thoughtfully deconstructs to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialism’s unsettling effects on past and present.
Red Star grew up on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana. Her exhibition title, Baaeétitchish (One Who Is Talented), references the Crow name she received while visiting home this past summer. It was the original name of her grand-uncle, Clive Francis Dust, Sr., known in the family for his creativity as a cultural keeper. Clearly, Red Star carries that same spirit as an artist. “By carving out space in the contemporary art world,” says Red Star, “I hope it will make it easier for the next generation of Native women artists to gain access to institutions and opportunities.” Red Star’s powerful exhibition at Light Work brings together four photography-based projects produced between 2006 and 2016.
Through her work, Red Star says she seeks to complete the missing pieces of the puzzle of her people’s history—a history that colonialism has unfortunately interrupted. “The stories have been scattered,” she says. Important for her Crow community, this re-gathering also helps to tell a more accurate story of America.
Wendy Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles. She has exhibited in the United States and abroad at sites that include Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain, Hood Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Portland Art Museum, and St. Louis Art Museum. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Banff Centre, CalArts, Dartmouth College, Figge Art Museum, Flagler College, the I.D.E.A. Space in Colorado Springs, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and Yale University. In 2017, Red Star received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and in 2018 she received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Red Star lives and works in Portland, OR.