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Alison Marks: Decaf/Regular to Open at Anchorage Museum

Jan 8, 2019 | Alaska Native, Media & Arts, News, Tourism


ANCHORAGE—Alaska artist Alison Marks challenges assumptions and expectations about Tlingit art through artwork that tackles cultural appropriation with subversive humor and reimagines traditional Tlingit themes using contemporary materials. Her artworks will be on view at the Anchorage Museum Feb. 1 through April 14 in the exhibition Alison Marks: Decaf/Regular

The pieces in this exhibition span a variety of media, including painting, carving, digital collage and regalia. Marks blends formline – the two-dimensional design style used by the peoples of the Northwest Coast – with nontraditional materials and techniques, including commercial and digital imagery, as a means to engage with a constantly evolving cultural landscape.

Several works in the exhibition play on the influence of social media. Her Emoji series blends formline design with emojis in a commentary on how images of Tlingit self-representation, once an ancient, labor-intensive visual language, have become procurable symbols chosen with the tap of a finger. 

One of Marks’s intentions is to subtly subvert the narratives of a patriarchal Western tradition, which often exoticizes Native identity and women. Through her work she seeks to reflect on the contemporary Tlingit experience and how indigenous identity is shaped by, and expressed through, Western culture.

Several works in the exhibition play on the influence of social media. Her Emoji series blends formline design with emojis in a commentary on how images of Tlingit self-representation, once an ancient, labor-intensive visual language, have become procurable symbols chosen with the tap of a finger. 

One of Marks’s intentions is to subtly subvert the narratives of a patriarchal Western tradition, which often exoticizes Native identity and women. Through her work she seeks to reflect on the contemporary Tlingit experience and how indigenous identity is shaped by, and expressed through, Western culture.

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Pictured: Works by Alison Marks.

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