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Meet the Fellows | Meryl McMaster (Part IV of V)

by Ashley Holland (Cherokee), Eiteljorg assistant curator of Contemporary Art | Oct 30, 2013

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

What follows is an excerpt from Meryl McMaster: Immeasurable, the Art of Being, by Ashley Holland 
(from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog).

Meryl McMaster
(Plains Cree/Blackfoot)

Photo credit: Ian Clark

My artistic practice begins with photography evoking a journey that follows a path of self-discovery….My art unravels notions of identity and subjectivity as something that is never complete, but always in process and always formed from within. -
Meryl McMaster

Meryl McMaster’s work creates a paradigm of the artist as visual philosopher. Her pursuit of knowledge, connection to the natural world, and relentless dedication to profound beauty make her photographs sumptuous and complex. They are a world unto themselves. She invites the viewers to join her in this world, to take what they may, and to grow from their own conclusions.

McMaster was born to a Euro-Canadian mother and Plains Cree/Blackfoot father in 1988. Her father, Gerald McMaster, is a well-known artist, author, and curator of Canadian aboriginal contemporary art. There is little question that this upbringing gave McMaster a great well of cultural and ancestral memory in which to immerse and emerge as herself. It is also of no small consequence that she, as an early career artist, exists in the era of important cultural and social movements such as Idle No More, in which Canada’s aboriginal people strive to reclaim their place and rights in their communities locally, provincially, and nationally. No doubt this influences her political and social views, of which her photographs act as a visual record.


Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
Anima (In-Between Worlds series), 2012
Digital chromogenic print
Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund


Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
Wingeds Calling (In-Between Worlds series), 2012
Digital chromogenic print
Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund


Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree/Blackfoot)
Aphoristic Currents (In-Between Worlds series), 2013
Digital chromogenic print
Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship Acquisition Fund

McMaster conceptualizes her work and then proceeds to use the moment, the environment, and the circumstance of that particular sequence to document the culmination of her vision. She has a space in her home where elements and concepts are envisioned and created as the stepping-stones to the act of photographing. For McMaster, the camera becomes an object that is vulnerable and dependent on the environment around it.

McMaster’s photographs continue to grow stronger as she adds layer upon layer of experience toward the spiritual maturity she seeks. Her constant exploration of identity and search for (self) realization translate beautifully into lush images with each subject she captures. Her photography series  In-Between Worlds , Ancestral , and Second Self demonstrate the potency of her artistic message. It is not surprising that one so interested in pursuit of the elevation of the human spirit and self-consciousness about her bi-cultural heritage would choose to work in the form of a photographic series, as if to better investigate a world, a view, through a multi-dimensional lens and a plethora of sculptural, cultural, and natural materials. 

Meet Meryl McMaster, Friday, Nov. 8 at the Eiteljorg.

Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
Friday
NOV 8
5:30–7:30 p.m.
Celebration!
$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 www.Eiteljorg.org

Saturday

NOV 9
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.

ABOUT THE EITELJORG CONTEMPORARY ART FELLOWSHIP
Meryl 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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