Christine Nofchissey McHorse was a remarkable sculptor and potter. The power of her abstract work is almost overwhelming. Photos can never do it justice. The textures and vibrant surfaces were exquisite reflecting another aspect of the power of her work.
The quotes are from her obituary in the NY times by Penelope Green. The artist died of Covid-19, recently and tragically.
She was 50, and a celebrated Native American potter, when she stopped producing the traditional painted vessels collectors loved. She instead began making rich, black unadorned sculptural forms, mysterious and sensual pieces that owed more to Constantin Brancusi than any Native American vernacular…
…She used micaceous clay, an incredibly strong, tensile material flecked with mica, which once fired accrues a shimmering, ebonized finish. In Ms. McHorse’s hands it became sculpture, akin to bronze.
…Ms. McHorse’s [earlier] work followed the Pueblo tradition of decorated pots. She was Diné, the traditional name of the Navajo people. Historically nomadic, the Diné were better known for jewelry, basketry and textiles. But Mr. McHorse is half-Pueblo and his grandmother, Lena Archuleta, a skilled artisan, taught Ms. McHorse how to work and adorn the clay according to her traditions.
…She worked slowly and precisely, building a piece from a single coil of clay. “There’s a period where I gain as much of the craft as I can, and then I start exploring structure — how far I can push the shape or how much extension I can get without losing the strength of the clay,” Ms. McHorse once told an interviewer.
..In her later years, she felt a sense of freedom in creating her singular work. “I’m no longer subject to anything,” Ms. McHorse told an interviewer in 2017. “I do my work. If it pleases me, I’ll put it out there. If it doesn’t please anyone, that’s fine too.”
If you ever have the opportunity to see her work go!
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