Born at the St. Ignatius Indian Mission, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Flathead Reserve, Montana, USA, 1940) is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Indian Nation. She grew up in constant displacement, accompanying her father who traveled working as a horse trainer. Her formal education as an artist was long and intermittent, being constantly interrupted by financial issues or by prejudices of class, race and gender. Her work gained ground in the late 1970s precisely because it confronted the Eurocentric and formalist standards of the official art circuit and, since 1980, her artistic practice has been intertwined with her work as a curator, educator and cultural coordinator, in efforts that have had a huge impact in the struggle for the recognition of American Indian art.
Quick-to-See Smith entered the field of modern painting, joining the debates about culture and language that had been fomented by pop art, and subverted the declarative nature of such work by using it as a catalyst of the divisions and relationships between, on the one hand, Indian knowledge and culture and, on the other, the paradigm of consuming and silencing differences that pervades North-American society. At times close to collage, at times to palimpsest, her painting encourages the juxtaposition of systems of representation and ways of understanding the world, provoking shocks that can produce critical, ironic or enigmatic effects. Often, the immediate reading of a symbol or phrase employed by Quick-to-See is challenged by it being covered in layers of paint, or in its combination with elements associated with other symbols and discourses.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).