Saturday, April 29, 2017

Local Art Seen: Leah Yellowbird Spreads Her Wings @ the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center

This past week I've been reading Ed Catmull's superbly insightful book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Catmull is the president of PIXAR Animation and Disney Animation, and this book details the lessons he's learned from a lifetime of experience at the center of the two most successful and influential animation studios in history.

In the chapter I'd just completed Catmull talks about one of the biggest challenges for creative people is success, because it can stymy people and businesses in the following way. It can make them afraid to try new things for fear of failure. That is, why not keep doing the "sure thing" that you have already done?

So it was with great interest that I stopped at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center after work last night to see another art exhibition by Leah Yellowbird. In conjunction with the art show the facility has converted its small gallery into a gift shop in which numerous products utilizing Ms. Yellowbird's designs were being sold, including pillows, clothing, wall art and more.

Table detail.
I'd heard that Leah had been trying some new things again (the transition from beads to acrylic has been stunning) and was delighted to see some of this work on display. One of the most striking was a small table which she produced with layer upon layer of some kind of shellac or medium which is transparent, layering this over intricate designs beneath and encapsulated within the layers. The effect is quite compelling, though may photos fail to do it justice. (Click image to enlarge.)

The turnout was good and the traffic steadily increasing during the time I was there. Numerous familiar faces were on hand and Leah Yellowbird was beaming. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it's only appropriate to pile them on here to give you the flavor of her work.

Leah Yellowbird's Monarch probably generated the most oohs and ahs. What follows is the full painting and then close up shots of various details, each one containing a story in and of itself. 

Otters, turtles and other wildlife populate here work, drawing on her First Nations heritage. As she explained to me last year, "The ancestors have really blessed me and keep blessing me."
I would suggest that this is clearly evident. Her work is rewarding to experience and worth the wider audience she has been gathering.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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