Margarete Bagshaw: Breaking the Rules features more than 30 paintings (some on sculpted wood panels), bronze and clay as wall art and multi-colored ceramic vessels that demonstrate the breadth and multi-dimensionality of Margarete Bagshaw's work. The exhibition runs through December 30, 2013.
Bursting with color and activity Bagshaw’s canvases are vibrant combinations of precise shape, texture, translucent layering, and light. Her paintings range from small to quite large and have an abstract, Cubist quality steeped in spirituality – a connection to her Native heritage and to her artistic forbears.
One wonders if Bagshaw’s grandmother, Pablita Velarde, were alive today would she be painting like this? It’s through her mother, acclaimed artist Helen Hardin, that Bagshaw traces her creative lineage back to Velarde – a dynasty of independent women artists as renown for their art as they were for breaking the rules.
In a conversation with Smithsonian.com on March 11, 2011, Bagshaw described her work in relationship to Hardin and Velarde’s this way; “When I paint my own compositions, I can connect with their independence, strength and creativity. If I choose to reference something from their paintings in something of mine, as in my ‘Mother Line’ series, it is like hearing their message, but interpreting it my own way.”
Margarete Bagshaw, born in 1964, grew up surrounded by her mother and grandmother’s artwork and the presence of other well-known Native artists such as R.C. Gorman. Yet it wasn’t until the 1990s that she started her artistic journey. Art represented to Bagshaw a “very normal way of life,” one she was accustomed to when both her grandmother and mother were at home painting.
Bagshaw, like her grandmother and mother, has successfully leaped the boundaries of traditional Native art where women only make pottery. And, she, too resists being categorized as a Native artist. In an interview with Kate Nelson in the winter issue of El Palacio magazine she said; “I’m in a position where I don’t have to be labeled… I don’t have to call myself an Indian artist to sell my work, and I decided that it was more to my advantage not to label myself as a particular kind of artist, based solely on my genealogy… now I know that I can be part of something, part of that lineage, without being defined by it.”
In addition to the more than 30 works on view in the exhibition will be videos of her working in her studio shot by husband Dan McGuinness.