Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, USA) combines Native American traditions with the visual languages of Modernism to explore the contemporary confluence of personal identity, culture, history, and international social narratives. Gibson is a member of the Chocktaw and Cherokee nations. He currently lives and works in Hudson, New York.Read More
Growing up, Gibson traveled extensively with his family, living for long periods of time in Germany, Korea, and the United States. While moving from place to place, he found solace and friendship in the music scene, at various times exploring the sounds and social traditions of the punk and rave music of his generation, and the PowWow traditions of his native heritage. These influences helped him to contextualise the power of costume as objects that can transform the wearer, and helped him understand the contemporary desire to be able to take agency over our own identities.
Gibson's multi-cultural perspective also informed his study of art history, and helped him to develop his personal style. That style has manifested across several dynamic and diverse bodies of work, in which traditional native materials like animal hides, beads, and tipi poles intermingle with modern mediums like spray paint, acrylics, ceramic and tape. One of his most recognised series involves punching bags that Gibson deftly transforms into aesthetic totems.
Another of Gibson's long running series involves an examination of ceremonial garments. A selection of these works were exhibited in a special installation at the entrance to the 2018 New York Armory Show. The garments express a range of perspectives and influences, and seem to anticipate inhabitation, like symbols of history and culture that possess both personal and wider social meaning.
Gibson's work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, amongst others.
Text courtesy Kavi Gupta.