Roxanne Swentzell Sculpture
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Roxanne Swentzell Biography

Sculptor, Santa Clara Pueblo

roxanne swentzell
Roxanne Swentzell was destined to be a talented artist.   Her family is full of renowned potters and sculptors.   Her talent was recognized early and she was given the opportunity to spend two years at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe before graduating from high school.   She then went on to the Portland Museum Art School.

Her first piece of art was a clay dog at the age of four.   After formal training and the development of her own style, Swentzell began to create full-length clay figures that represent the complete spectrum of the human spirit.   She feels that many people are out of touch with their environment and hopes relating to her expressive characters will help them get back in touch with their surroundings and feelings.    Her figures represent a full range of emotions and irrepressible moods.   Swentzell focuses a lot on interpretative female portraits attempting to bring back the balance of power between the male and female, inherently recognized in her own culture.   Additionally, she increasingly uses a powerful sense of humor to communicate.

Her work is in such high demand that people line up by the dozens at her booth at shows like Santa Fe Indian Market where she won Best of Sculpture in 1999 with a larger-than-life bronze.  Though steeped in her own culture, Swentzell's work demonstrates an astounding universality, speaking to people of all cultures.  


Education

1980-1981
Portland Museum Art School, Portland, OR

1978-1980           
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM

1976           
Apprenticeship in Sculpting with Michael Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo NM

1971           
Apprenticeship in Printing with Frank Flinn, Santa Fe, NM


Other Activities

1989-Present
Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute, Santa Fe, NM
Secretary/Treasurer/Director


Artist-in-Residence

1979-1982           
Santa Fe Indian School, New Mexico
Tesuque Pueblo Elementary School
San Juan Pueblo Elementary School
Santa Clara Pueblo Elementary School


Selected Honors and Awards

2011
Roxanne Swentzell Receives 2011 Native Treasures Living Treasure Award
Santa Fe, NM

2008
Santa Fe Community Foundation Award
Santa Fe NM

2007
Honored Artist
"Art Feast"
Santa Fe, NM

2004
National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
Smithsonian Institute “E-wah-Nee-nee”, Washington, DC
• Auditorium Wall Sculpture Commission

2004
Santa Fe Indian Market Poster Artist
Santa Fe, NM

2002
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ
• Best of Division – Pottery Division C
• Judges’ Choice Award

2000
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ
• Best of Division, Best of Class, Sculpture
• Judges’ Choice Award

1999
Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Santa Fe, NM
• 1st Place Award, Bronze Category
• Best of Division, Bronze and Other Metals
• Best of Classification, Sculpture

1998
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• First Place Award, Bronze Category

1997
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, Phoenix, AZ
• Featured Artist
• Poster Images "lt's Raining" and "Emergence of the Clowns"

1997
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• 1st Place Award, Single figures Category, Non-Traditional Pottery Division
• 1st Place Award, Bronze Category

1996
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• 1st Place Award, Single figures Category, Non-Traditional Pottery Division
• 3rd Place Award, Ceramic Category, Sculpture Classification
           
1995
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• 1st Place Award, Single figures Category, Non-Traditional Pottery Division

1994
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• Wheelwright Museum and Joseph Block Sculpture Award
• 1st Place Award, Single figures Category, Non-Traditional Pottery Division

1986
SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
• Bob Davis Memorial Award - awarded to the most promising artist at Indian Market
• Four 1st Place Awards-Pottery and Sculpture Classifications
           
1980
Santa Fe, NM
• Joy Levine Art Scholarship Award


Selected Bibliography & Publications

American Indian, 2008. Book Published by Gold Street Press "A Universal Language" pgs. 190-191

Southwest Art Official Indian Market Magazine, August 2001.  Dottie Indyke “Roxanne Swentzell” pages 190-193.

UnArt Populaire Foundation Cartier, May 2001 pages 166-171.

Gaia’s Garden A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway 2001, Chelsea Green Publishing Company, pages 14, 15, 189.

Everson Ceramic National 2000 Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY page 67.

Kate McGraw  “Grandaddy of Them All” Cowboys & Indians September 2000: Pages 113-114.

“Who Stole the Teepee?”, Fred Nahwoosky, Richard Hill, Heard Museum 2000, page 64.

Pueblo People Ancient Traditions Modern Lives, Marcia Keegan, 1999 Clear Light Publishers, NM page 184.

Santa Clara Portraits A Proud Tradition, Neil Chapman, Avanyu Passage West by Southwest 1999, pages 84-85.

Clay People Pueblo Indian Figurative Traditions, Jonathon Batkin, Wheelwright Museum 1999 “Roxanne Swentzell” pages 24-31.

Native Peoples “clay people” Gussie Fautleroy 1999, pages 27-30.

Pueblo Artists Portraits, Toba Pato Tucker, Museum of NM Press 1998, Cover “Roxanne” also pages 9-11.

“Roxanne Swentzell & Carol Krena” A book of writings by Carol & Roxanne, Four Winds Gallery 1997.

John Krena.  In the Spirit of the Ancestors: The Kappmeyer  Collection of Native American Art.   Erie, PA:  Erie Art Museum in conjunction with Four Winds Gallery, 1997.

Susan Peterson.  Pottery by American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations.  New York: Abbeville Press in conjunction with the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1997. Pages 195-201.

Roxanne Swentzell.  "Hearing with Our Hearts." Chapter in Surviving in Two Worlds: Contemporary Native American Voices.  Lois Crozier-Hogle and Darryl Babe Wilson, eds. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

Designer/Builder (A Journal of the Human Environment) March 1997, Kingsley and Jerilou Hammett, “Permaculture from Barren Land to Lush Oasis” pages 15-22, also cover page.

Lawrence Abbot. "Roxanne Swentzell," Indian Artist Fall 1997: Pages 20-25.

Permaculture Drylands Journal  P.D.I. “Growing a Permaculture” by Vicki Marvick and Roxanne Swentzell, 1996.

A Question of Balance Artist and Writers on Motherhood, Rosenberg 1995 papier-mâché press “Roxanne Swentzell” pages 81-88.

The Straw Bale House, Athena Swentzell Steen, Bill Steen, David Bainbridge, 1994 A Real Goods Independent Living Book page 273.

Watchful Eyes: Native American Women Artists.  Phoenix: Heard Museum, 1994.

How I make My Sculptures Roxanne Swentzell, self-published 1993.

Roxanne Swentzell.  "Our Home Flowering Tree (An Experimental Place in Sustainable Living Systems)."  Self-published,1993.

Droppings An Occasional Publication of Sustainable Living Systems, Joel Glanzberg and Roxanne Swentzell, 7 issues 1991-1995, published by Flowering Tree.


Selected Exhibitions

Roxanne Swentzell continues to speak through her clay while living her life among her family in Santa Clara Pueblo. Besides sculpting, she gardens, builds houses, and runs a non-profit organization on sustainable living methods.

2011
"Mud Woman"
commissioned piece for the Denver Art Museum, Colorado
Large mud woman for the entrance of the Native American Exhibits.

2010
Four Winds Show
Pittsburgh, Penn.

2010
"Roxanne Swentzell"
Legends Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2010
"The Human Figure"
Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2010
Santa Fe Indian Market booth and
honored artist,
Santa Fe NM

2010
Heard Museum Indian Market
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

2009
"Mothers and Daughters"
Exhibition at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

2009
"Family"
A Statement on Community
Commissioned piece for the Santa Fe Civic Center

2008
"Roots" (Continued group show from Relations)
Tower Gallery

2008
"Gia" (A Family of Artists)
Curated Naranjo Family Show
Tower Gallery

2007
"Whatever You Wish"
Sping Show
Tower Gallery

2006
"The Face of Many Moods"
August Show
Tower Gallery, Pojoaque NM

2006
Relation Show
IAIA Museum
Santa Fe, NM

2006
Winter Show
Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery
Pojoaque, NM

2006
Tower Gallery Grand Opening
Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery
Pojoaque, NM

2006
Heard Indian Market
Heard Museum
Phoenix, AZ

2005
“Roxanne Swentzell” Show
Santa Fe, NM

2004
“Na-Po-Mang” Opening
Poeh Museum
Pojoaque, NM

2004
Santa Fe Indian Market Poster Artist
Santa Fe, NM

2004
National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
Washington, DC

2004
Smithsonian Institute “E-wah-Nee-nee”
Smithsonian
Washington, DC

2003
“Juggling Worlds” - Grand Opening
Poeh Museum
Pojoaque, NM

2003
“Gallery Show”
Heard Museum
Phoenix, AZ

2002
“Changing Hands: Native American Arts Today”
American Craft Museum
New York, NY

2002
“Insprirations”, in honor of Lloyd Kiva New
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
Santa Fe, NM

2001
Shared Visions V
Four Winds Gallery
Pittsburgh, PA

2001
Un Art Populaire
Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
Paris, France

2001, 2000
American Women Artists
Group Show
Santa Fe, NM
Guest Artist

2000
“At Play in the Field of Dimension”
Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

2000
Everson Ceramic National 2000
Everson Museum of Art
Syracuse, NY

2000
American Women Artists
Group Show
Sorrento, Italy

2000
Roxanne Swentzell
New Sculptures
Hahn Ross Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2000
 “Who Stole the Tee Pee”
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
New York, NY

1999
 “Clay People”
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM

1999
American Women Artists Group Show
Guest Artist
Taos, NM

1999, 1998
Ohio Craft Museum
Columbus, OH

1998
2nd Anniversary Show
Heard Museum North
Carefree, AZ

1998
Shared Visions IV
Four Winds Gallery
Pittsburgh, PA

1998
 “Nourishing Hearts, Creative Hands: Contemporary Art by Native American Women”
Hampton University Museum, Hampton, VA

1998
 “Head Heart & Hands: Native American Craft Traditions in a Contemporary World”
Kentucky Art & Craft Gallery, Louisville, KY

1998
Roxanne Swentzell, Sculptor
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA

1998
Pittsburgh Collects Clay
Carnegie Museum of Art
Pittsburgh, PA

1998
One Woman Show
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA

1985-88 and 1992-Present           
Southwest Association for Indian Arts Annual Indian Market
Santa Fe, NM

1997, 2000-Present           
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market
Phoenix, AZ

1997-1998
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Pottery by American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations
• Curated by Susan Peterson
• Catalogue (see bibliography)

1995-1998
Traveling Exhibition - Indian Humor
• Sponsored by American Indian Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA
• Catalogue (see Bibliography)
• 12 venues including:  Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Los Angeles, CA; University of Minnesota Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution), New York, NY

1998
Gallery 10, Carefree, AZ
Native Commentary
• Group show with Bob Haozous, Marcus Amerman, Mateo Romero

1997
The White House, Washington, D.C.
Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House IV: Honoring Native America

1997
Four Winds Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
In the Spirit of the Ancestors: The Kappmeyer Collection
• Catalogue (see Bibliography)
           
1997
Healing in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
• Curated by Suzan Harjo, Morning Star Institute

1997
Robert F. Nichols Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Faces of Clay
• Two-person exhibit with Diego Romero

1996 - 1997
Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA
Native American Traditions, Contemporary Responses

1996
Museum of Mankind, London, UK
Rain
• Poster Image:  "It's Raining"
           
1996
Traveling Exhibit
Shared Visions: Native American Painters and Sculptors in the Twentieth Century
• Sponsored by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
• Curated by Margaret Archuleta and Rennard Strickland

1991 - 1996
• National and international venues including: Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK; National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY; McDougal Gallery, New Zealand

1994-1995
Bush Barn Art Center, Salem, OR
Museum at Warm Springs, Warm Springs, OR
Sisters of the Earth: Contemporary Native American Ceramics

1994
Heard Museum
Phoenix, AZ
Watchful Eyes: Native American Women Artists
• Catalogue (see Bibliography)

1994
Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, NM
Allan Houser Memorial Sculpture Garden Inaugural Show
           
1994
Santa Fe, NM
Women of Clay
• With Nora Naranjo-Morse

1993
The Museum of the Blackhawk, Blackhawk, CA
Visions and Voices

1990
Praise Song Gallery, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
Roxanne Swentzell: Sculptor

1989
Gallery Studio 53, New York, NY
One-woman Show

1988
Gorman Museum—UC Davis, Davis, CA
Four Generations of the Naranjo Family

1982
St. John's College Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
One-woman Show

1982
Arriot Gallery, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
One-woman Show

1980
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM
One woman Show


Public Collections

• Cartier, Paris, France
• Museum of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
• Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
• Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
• Josyln Museum of Art, Omaha, NE
• Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC
• The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art permanent collection, Kansas City, MO


Current Gallery Representation

• Four Winds Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
• Hahn-Ross Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
• Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
• Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
• Berlin Gallery, Phoenix, AZ


Rox Miscellaneous Photos

Roxanne Swentzell Photo, Black and White
Roxanne Swentzell Photo, Black and White
Roxanne Swentzell Photo, Black and White
Photo By Julien McRoberts
Roxanne Swentzell Photo, With Indian Corn
Photo By Julien McRoberts

Roxanne Swentzell Photo, With Clay Masks
Photo By Julien McRoberts

 



 

ROXANNE'S BIO

 

Roxanne Swentzell at Mid-Career
by Mateo Romero

Rythm, balance, emotion, shyness, children, love; these are words I use to describe the sculpture, art and life of my friend Roxanne Swentzell. If I were to respnd to the essence of her work, it is the mastery of the three- dimensional form within the emotive context of the human figure.

Rox's work emotes. Figures of clowns, old men and women, and children twist, turn, undulate, laugh, cry, repair themselves, interact with each other, and love each other. It is through this intricate balance of elements that her work reaches our humanity and engages us as both audience and participant.

One of the most fundamental concepts in Pueblo ideology is the harmonious balancing of opposites. The life and work of Rox can be seen as a complex interplay between oppsites or polarities. Although she has a mainstream art education, her work and sensibilites are firmly grounded in a sense of Pueblo identity. Her work is in demand in a blue chip commerical art market, but it is clear that the integrity and personal vision of the work comes first. Risk taking, experimentation, and content-based narratives in the work defy the simplicity of the lowest common denominator of the market place. It is the breath of sincerity that emanates; appeal is based on a shared emotional connection between artist and audience.

In a structuralist analysis of Pueblo culture the idea of balancing opposites is a central theme. Summer/Winter clans, life/death, mainstream world/Pueblo world, personal integrity/art market. Taking this comparison further, we have a series of binary opposites, which seemingly define each other in their intraction with each other. But, the interaction between binary opposites creates a third relationship, as in the classic example of Summer and Winter clans re-integrating for the brief space of the Pueblo feast day in the plaza. This triadic relationship can be seen as a central part of the meaning of her sculptures.

In the regional Southwest, where Native art is synonymous with Native American subject matter, Rox's work crosses the acceptable paradigms of Indian art into content-based art with specific intellectual meanings. A particulartly strong series of work in this vein is her sculpture dealing with the female nude. Within her signature style use of the deco modification of the female body, male gaze, and gender identity. The power of this type of content-based work transcends regionalism placing it squarely in the realm of the best of mainstream art.

Perhaps most important of all is Rox's search for home, her diaspora traveling from village, pueblo, and art school; searching for a literal of metaphoric center of sipapu for her art, family andlife. In this journey Rox has been both a student and an instructor at the Poeh Cultural Center, as well as working on a garden project at the Poeh. Those of us who have been touched by Roxanne as she walked with us awhile on her journey, and we think that ultimately home is where ever her childern and her clay creatures eat, love, quarrel, and lay themselves down to sleep at night.



 

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