James Ratliff Gallery Exhibits David K. John's "Corn Pollen Journey"
By: James Ratliff Gallery
David K. John's paintings reveal the story of the Navajo people. John is committed to storytelling, i.e., telling the story of Navajo culture. "This tradition can only be experienced,"
Raised by his great grandfather, great grandmother and single mother, David K. John grew up hearing the stories and teachings of his homeland. John's great grandfather was a medicine man so from childhood, John participated in seasonal rituals, healing ceremonies (sand paintings) and sacred events. In his art, John expresses his own interpretations of his childhood. David K. John reveals the cultural motif of his Navajo heritage to evoke a sense of wonder, serenity and timelessness within the viewer.
Recently, David won First Prize for his Clay Mask at the Annual Native American Navajo Show. However, David has won many awards for his paintings and masks, including Intertribal Ceremonial in Gallup, Santa Fe Indian Market, and Annual Native American Art Show in Blanding, Utah. Particularly striking personally was his selection as 1990 Census Artist which availed him a trip to Washington, D.C., press conference, first opportunity to view the work of Picasso, Monet, and prompted his determination to paint away on his return home.
The James Ratliff Gallery has represented David K. John for more than 25 years. Besides worldwide individual collectors, David's work is included in the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, The Navajo Tribal Museum, Window Rock, AZ, The Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, The Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, IN, and The Red Cloud Museum, Pine Ridge, SD.
Formal education was accented by full scholarship to the Institute of American Indian Arts from which he graduated with the award Outstanding Two-Dimensional Artist. Having then studied at Brigham Young University, David completed his Bachelor's degree at Southern Utah University before returning to his Keams Canyon, Arizona home.
David is proficient in media of oil, clay, acrylics and bronze; the James Ratliff Gallery November exhibit will feature acrylic paintings. Palettes of reds and browns for Mother Earth and blues for Father Sky simply set the backdrop for images that bring some viewers to tears. There is a sense of serenity, peace, wonder evoked by this work. It speaks in stillness. It transports timelessness.
Candidly, the artist admits: "I don't really think about it . . . When I start painting, all these teachings come back. I paint more for the younger generation. They are observing the culture from their own contemporary perspectives . . . All these ideas come back."
David feels it is important that "we teach our culture, go to ceremonies, be a part of them and learn from them. My paintings are one way to preserve our culture. When I'm gone, my art will continue."
For further information about "Corn Pollen Journey" or the James Ratliff Gallery: phone: 928-282-
James Ratliff Gallery