New Mexico artist Chaz John’s series Manifest Destiny’s Child proposes a deeply personal and contemporary translation of Indigenous and American iconography.
Chaz John (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska/Mississippi Band Choctaw/European) presents a vibrant collection of images—both real and imagined—that comprise a poetic narrative of cultural iconography, raw dream images, and a personal quilt of archetypal patterns that make up the collective American psyche.
Manifest Destiny’s Child pivots around the “modern myth of the American frontier.” Picking at its shallow timeline, John’s work coalesces these moments into an atmosphere that parallels this narrative with intimate elements of self-reflection.
Throughout this body of work, John draws from historical references such as western alchemy, Indigenous storytelling, and family history. These are coupled with the introspective visual language of tattoo flash art, slapstick comedy, and addiction, proposing a deeply personal contemporary translation of Indigenous and American iconography. The work embraces the tension between opposites, blurring the line of representation and abstraction, figure and shadow, and revealing something familiar and vague at the same time.
“I want the paintings and sculptures to look like they’re trying to remember a dream, falling apart and coming together.” Like a dream, the relationship between the subjects and narrative isn’t always apparent. Yet, the work evokes emotional depth, humor, and an aura of mystery that invite the viewer to embrace a collection of humanity’s archetypal narratives.
Santa Fe, NM | chazjohnart.com | ig: @chaz.john.art