Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gorman, Rudolph Carl

Chinle Ruby Throated Hummingbird
other detail unknown
-Fair use-

Rudolph Carl Gorman (R.C. Gorman 1931-2005) is considered by many to be the premiere Native American Indian artists. The New York Times quoted him as being the Picasso of American Indian Art. His paintings are primarily of Native American women and characterized by fluid forms and vibrant colors, though he also worked in sculpture, ceramics, and stone lithography.

Gorman was born in Navajo Nation, Arizona. His father was a noted Navajo painter and teacher. He grew up in a traditional Navajo hogan and began drawing at age 3. His grandmother helped raise him, recounting Navajo legends and enumerating his genealogy of artist ancestors. She kindled his desire to become an artist. While tending sheep in Canyon de Chelly with his aunts, he used to draw on the rocks, sand, and mud, and made sculptures with the clay, with his earliest subjects including Mickey Mouse and Shirley Temple.

After he left high school, he served in the Navy, where he majored in literature and minored in art at Northern Arizona University. In 1958, he received the first scholarship from the Navajo Tribal Council to study outside of the United States, and enrolled in the Mexico City College's art program. There he became inspired by the Mexican artists: Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, and their colors and forms to change from abstraction to abstract realism. He used abstract forms and shapes to create his own unique, personal realistic style. While in Mexico, he also learned stone lithography. He used lithography throughout his life as a means of making original multiple images of his inspirations, often working by drawing directly on the stones from which the lithographs were printed. He later studied art at San Francisco State University. In 1968, he moved from California to New Mexico.
He was also an avid lover of cuisine, authoring four cookbooks, with accompanying drawings.