Neal Ambrose-Smith: Culture Hack

Santa Fe, NM– Chiaroscuro is pleased to present Neal Ambrose-Smith’s (Flathead Salish, Metis, Cree) solo exhibition, Culture Hack, on view in the main gallery from November 22 – December 31, 2022. The opening reception, with the artist, will be Saturday, November 26, from 4-6 pm.

Culture Hack brings together Ambrose-Smith’s most recent body of work, including seven large-scale mixed media figurative paintings with a contemporary narrative looking at cultural identity and cultural curiosity. The artwork features Traditional and Pop icons set in a pictorial narrative surrounded by Salish blanket patterns, as Ambrose Smith’s brush “weaves” together and sets in juxtaposition loaded imagery with implied meanings. Each piece draws the viewer into its dynamic composition, full of symbols and abstract marks, swirling around the picture plane at high speed!

Ambrose-Smith explains:

“Cultural identity can be just as mixed up as cultural plagiarism, but we all do it. Cultural curiosity. We listen to the melody of language, bright colors of clothing and cherish the aroma of food. While there can be great pain through culture adoption/appropriation we can also see our curiosity at work. Sometimes culture wears regalia and other times masks and tights. Sometimes culture gets them mixed up and upside down. I am as seduced by other cultures as they are seduced by mine. We are the like Dr. Seuss’ Sneetches heading for greener grasses. Perhaps we can meet in the middle?”

Neal Ambrose-Smith is a contemporary Native American painter, sculptor, printmaker and neon artist, based in New Mexico. He is a descendent of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana. His work is included in numerous public and private collections including the New York Public Library, the Contemporain in Chamalieres, France, and Hongik University in Seoul, Korea. He received his BA from the University of Northern Colorado, and MFA from the University of New Mexico. Ambrose-Smith is a recently retired professor of art at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM. This is Ambrose-Smith’s second solo exhibition at Chiaroscuro.