Jack Malotte’s art inspires laughter, connection – Great Basin Native Artists series, part three
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Jack Malotte often uses his artwork to cast light on the juxtaposition of Native Americans existing in a modern world.
In his 1995 poem, “Things That Make Me Laugh,” he wrote:
“Prize-winning traditional dancers make me laugh. White Indian experts make me laugh. Christian Indians make me laugh. White artists who paint Indian things better than Indians make me laugh. Indian tacos being called a traditional food makes me laugh. Indians who call themselves cowboys make me laugh. Mixing Indian culture with the dominant society makes me laugh.”
Malotte, who lives on the Duckwater Reservation, uses watercolor and airbrush acrylics, graphics, pencil, pen and ink, wash, pastel, colored pencil and mechanical pencil to illustrate the same message.
He paints traditional-looking Native Americans in modern dress using modern technology.
However, his work is not all satire. He also uses his artwork to convey the, “Indian connection with the earth and sky and how this connection manifests spiritually, physically, and politically,” with the majority of his work depicting the arid California and Nevada landscape of his ancestors.
He is among the featured artists on display at the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority, 716 N. Carson St., as part of the Great Basin Native Artists exhibit.
The first group of artists — Melissa Melero-Moose, Ben Aleck, Topaz Jones, Jack Malotte and Topah Spoonhunter — will remain on display through June 19.
A reception for the second group of artists will be held during the Father’s Day Powwow at Stewart Indian School, 5500 Snyder Ave., June 16-18.
Malotte’s work was exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1982 and he has had several one-man exhibitions including the Museum of the Northern Plains, Montana; Belson-Brown and River Run Galleries, Idaho; Carl Gorman Museum, California; Institute of American Indian Arts, New Mexico and La Paza Graphics, California.
He graduated from the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California in 1974.