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Mary Morez Navajo Collection Featured at Annual Show

By Courtney Puffer

Pacific Western Traders 35th Anniversary Show May 27 to July 8, 2006

Mary Morez (Navajo) was one of the foremost contemporary American Indian Painters.

Morez's work is original, striking and bold. Like her colleague, David Paladin, she has created an art style synthesizing traditional Navajo symbolism with contemporary modes of expression. Morez is not easily classified into any simple category or "school" - she was an individualist who looked to reaffirm the roots of her Navajo origins while at the same time engaging in dialogue with modern Anglo-American society.

Morez identified herself as eclectic in the sense that she is not confined to one style of painting. Though her approach was often marked by influences from the cubist period of Pablo Picasso, she also painted in semi-abstract and stylized American Indian forms. Her work can show the influence of past greats from Michelangelo to Kandinsky and Klee. Her sense of color balance and coordination is extraordinary, and when this color sense is placed within one of her cubist/abstract conceptions, a very distinctive painting is the result. While her acrylic paintings often receive the most attention from critics and connoisseurs, Morez was also very skilled in the use of charcoal, conte crayon, oil, pen and ink wash.

Morez's paintings are in many prominent private and institutional collections and her honors are many. She has had one-woman shows at such places as the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, the Native American Art gallery in New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ, Institut fur Englische Philologie der Universitat, Wurburg-Germany as well as the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Mary Morez was born in Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Her parents died early in her life and she was raised on the reservation for several years by grandparents. From them, she learned many of the complexities of Navajo ceremonialism; it is the memory of these ceremonies, in addition to her later study of these forms in a more anthropological context, that is reflected in her penchant for Navajo symbolism, that is reflected in her work. The symbols she used, however, whilst based upon traditional sand paintings, are not merely reproductions of them. Instead, Morez used these archetypal forms as departure point for her own unique exploration and interpretation of meanings. She passed away in September of 2004.

Pacific Western Traders has represented Mary Morez since 1971 and the collection of Mary Morez will be on display as part of the 35th Anniversary celebration, May 27 to July 8, 2006.

For further information:
Pacific Western Traders
305 Wool Street,
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 985 3851

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