Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Meet the Fellows | Julie Buffalohead (Part I of V)

by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg contemporary art curator | Oct 09, 2013

Each week the Eiteljorg blog will feature a profile of artists who will be featured in RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibit opens Nov. 9. Details below!

Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma)

          My recent series reflects a journey of a more personal nature. The narrative tension my work creates emanates from the Native oral tradition of storytelling, while I blend in my own distinct strands of make-believe. –Julie Buffalohead

Julie Buffalohead dreams a world. It is a world where oppressive societal mores are reenacted, challenged, and overcome by the meek. Small animals, rabbits and raccoons, birds and bears, and even Coyote the trickster have moments of tenderness, despair, and triumph as they meander through the ambiguous spaces of Buffalohead’s paintings.  

 Fearsome Critter, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

Heart Sick, 2012. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.    

The Medusa Syndrome, 2010. Mixed media on paper. Image courtesy the Bockley Gallery.

     The fine, facile drawings are accentuated with the modeled and measured application of paint. It is an application that creates a quiet understanding of each element it describes, be it architectural or animal. Buffalohead creates a theater in the settings of her paintings: the woods, the bathroom, and the front yard, in a sandbox or a wading pool. The understated settings are the stage for monsters of domesticity, myths of motherhood, a fairytale history of America, personal experiences, and homage to Ponca culture. All are expressed through Buffalohead’s private visual language, a language so intriguing that it transports the viewer to another worldview: hers.

     Born in 1972, Buffalohead is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and a master of fine arts degree from Cornell University in 2001. She currently resides in Minneapolis and has received many prestigious awards, including the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. A prolific artist, Buffalohead pursues in her current work a tireless personal and sociopolitical investigation based on being a woman, mother, Native, and conscientious observer. 

–Excerpt from Julie Buffalohead: Fighter of the Good Fight
by Jennifer Complo McNutt 
(from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).

Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
5:30–7:30 p.m.
$40 – includes Saturday’s activities
To commemorate the opening of RED: the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering that celebrates their artistic accomplishments.  
7:30 p.m.–12 a.m.

Contemporary Arts Party
$15 at the door, $10 in advance – includes Saturday’s activities
Celebrate the opening of RED by partying all night to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red and DJ Kyle Long of the Cultural Cannibals.  Additional entertainment will be provided by the comedy improve group the 1491s, Big Car, Know No Stranger, and more!
Tickets are available for purchase at

All Day
RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
Be among the first to experience RED.
Opening Day a
ctivities include a gallery tour with the Fellows from 10 a.m.-12 p.m and from 1–3 p.m. a presentation by comedic cultural critics, the 1491s. Saturday's event is in collaboration with the 2013 Spirit  & Place Festival. This festival reaches 20,000 people each year through dozens of “never before seen” programs that promote growth of the human spirit.

Julie is one of five 2013 Fellows and her artwork will be featured in the exhibition RED: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 9. This biennial program recognizes the accomplishments of one invited and four juried Fellows, which are chosen by a panel of independent experts. As part of the Fellowship, each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted cash award and their work is exhibited and further explored in an accompanying catalog. In addition, the museum purchases a total of over $100,000 worth of art from the Fellows for the permanent collection, adding to a body of work that has given the Eiteljorg Museum a collection of Native contemporary art that has been referred to as the “greatest in the world.”



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