Neal Ambrose-Smith: Where Are You Going? Catalog
With a dual exhibition title in Séliš and English, artist Neal Ambrose-Smith queries our present, collective situation and expresses the anxieties and uncertainties of contemporary life. Ambrose-Smith, a descendent of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nations, created this body of work over the past four years to address the seismic political and cultural shifts that have taken place. His work is typified by fluency in the mediums of printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, and neon, well as a fluency in the currency of our times—popular culture. Ambrose-Smith wears his humor on his sleeve, even as his heart is in his throat. He cares deeply about the present state of humanity and manifests this concern through these expressive artworks. Ambrose-Smith says, “As a nation, we face a reckoning seen the rise in anger, racism, hatred, destruction of the planet, and illness. As human beings, we have to find a way to work together.”
In this exhibition, the artist uses the metaphor of multiple realities (through the use of black light, references to Alice in Wonderland, and Star Trek’s map of the known universe) to point out the fundamental problem with fixed solutions. A postmodern artist, Ambrose-Smith moves between mediums and embodies the postmodern tenants of appropriation, juxtaposition, recontextualization, globalization, and hybridity. His work mixes concepts of Indigenous identity and pop culture, with existential questions about contemporary society. He takes on large, complicated themes such as the arc of human existence, our interdependence with one another, and the future direction of the planet in an accessible, tongue-in-cheek way that connects to audiences.
$5, softcover, full color
Published by the Missoula Art Museum.
Support for this catalog comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Features essays by Brandon Reintjes, John Calsbeek, and Lara Evans