Emmi Whitehorse

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About the Artist

"Touch is all important to Emmi Whitehorse’s unique style. She uses her hands to smear, caress, and fine-tune the dry washes of her grounds. The actual drawing process is equally intuitive. Close-up intimacy paradoxically evokes the long vistas of the Navajo cultural and geographic journey across the unique landscape of the Dinétah, the homeland. Distance is concentrated by marks, forms and scrawls suggesting the way sparse vegetation or moving wildlife calls attention to itself in vast spaces. Viewers can choose—as we adjust our eyesight, our depth of field, to Whitehorse’s intricate ciphers—whether to read these signs of nature as either very near (“myopic”, she calls it) or very far away. Either way, the tangles of marks amount to a secret cache, a secret code."

Excerpt taken from Lucy R. Lippard's essay for Whitehorse exhibition, All the Way Home, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 2006.


The abstract canvases of Emmi Whitehorse (Navajo) depict layers of markings, lines and shapes interwoven in fields of blended color. Not purely abstract, her paintings suggest landscapes with firmaments, the lines between them softly blurred. Whitehorse states "As an artist I have intentionally avoided politically oriented subject matter and angst-ridden or physical wrestling with the act of painting itself. To make art, the act of making art must stay true to a harmonious balance of beauty, nature, humanity and the whole universe. This is in accordance with Navajo philosophy. I have chosen to focus on nature, on landscape. My paintings tell the story of knowing land over time - of being completely, micro-cosmically within a place. I am defining a particular space, describing a particular place. They are purposefully meditative and mean to be seen slowly. The intricate language of symbols refer to specific plants, people and experiences."

Chiaroscuro is Whitehorse's "hometown" gallery and keeps a complete inventory of her most recent work and older pieces on hand. Please contact the gallery for information about available Whitehorse paintings and prints not posted on this site.

Branching A
Cambrain Nursery
Globiular Star Cluster
Cambrian State
Cambrian Lifeforms