MISSOULA, MONT.- The Missoula Art Museum
presents Marcus Amerman: Indian Country, a mixed-media exhibition of work by artist Marcus Amerman. MAM is committed to exhibiting contemporary Indigenous artists and celebrates this new body of work by Amerman, who lives in nearby Kooskia, Idaho.
Marcus Amerman drew on his Choctaw heritage for inspiration in his blown-glass sculptures. While in residency at the Smithsonian, he spent time at the Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian learning about the Mound Builders, the pre-Colombian ancestors of the Choctaw Nation. He was inspired to translate many of the artifacts, symbols, and shapes into glass. I wanted to illuminate their culture by using a medium that is modern, beautiful, translucent, and powerful, Amerman said of the process. Id like to think that my ancestors would enjoy my work, he continued. Many of the glass sculptures were created collaboratively with renowned artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit), whom he met during a residency at the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle.
The exhibition also includes shields made from car hub caps, vintage pins, and strips of the American flag. Amerman says the shields symbolize what is important to him: When I look at the shields, I see my great-grandfather, superheroes that inspire me, and other things that I find beautiful or interesting. Amermans work reinterprets and transforms traditional forms and materials into contemporary expressions.
Amerman was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He received a bachelors degree in fine art at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, with additional art study at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He is widely renowned for his beadwork, and he credits the Plateau region and its wealth of talented bead artists with introducing him to this traditional art form. Amerman draws upon a wide range of influences to create strikingly original works that reflect his background of having lived in three different regions with strong artistic traditions, his academic introduction to pop art and social commentary, and his inventive exploration of the potential artistic forms and expressions using beads. Although he is best known for his bead art, he is also a multimedia artist, painter, performance artist, fashion designer, and glass artist.
Marcus Amerman: Indian Country is on view now at the Missoula Art Museum through July 16, 2022.