Jeffrey Gibson

(HUDSON, NY, b. 1972)

I met Jeffrey in his studio in Hudson, NY about 4-5 years ago. It was one of those perfect autumn days with the sparkling sunlight and glorious foliage. When I walked in, he was teaching a high school class. I sat in the back and listened to him speak. I am a teacher and I was enthralled by Jeffrey’s gift as an artist, storyteller and teacher. I think he is a brilliant person with a big heart.

Jeffrey feels his art. He reveals himself in his art and gets you to think about how you feel through his art. I find his work to be extremely personal and welcoming. I connect to it and it speaks to me of the beauty in diversity and open heartedness and that we are all in this together. –Harriet

Jeffery Gibson was born in 1966 and grew up in a military family stationed in Germany, South Korea and the US. Since earning his B.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the Royal College of Art in London, he has spent time working in France, New Mexico and California. Gibson is now based in Hudson, New York with his husband, a fellow artist, and their baby daughter, Gigi.

Gibson’s practice is a fusion of contemporary dominant artistic figures of the 20th century and artists who have historically been excluded from the mainstream art world such as his own Native American culture. He gravitates toward fringe convictions as a way of communicating his own personal history.

“I understand why other Native American artists do not want to engage with the contemporary art world, with the world beyond Native communities. But I have grown up in that in-between place. It would be disingenuous for me to cut a large part of my life out.”

(HUDSON, NY, b. 1972)
American History, 2015
Glass beads, wool, steel studs, artificial sinew, metal jingles, acrylic yarn, nylon fringe, and canvas
89 x 66 x 5 in.

One of the first pieces I saw was American History. I loved it at first sight and it was the quickest art decision I made. Its tactile beauty and message resonate deeply with me. When we put it over the fireplace in Alnoba’s Great Room, it felt like it belonged there. Jeffrey asked if we would loan it as part of a traveling exhibition of his work to Denver, Seattle, Madison and ??. He explained how important the show and this piece were to him and I agreed to let it go. I miss the piece terribly and can’t wait for its return. –Harriet

This recent work includes a quote from James Baldwin, one of the artist’s heroes. Referencing stylized tribal designs, American History is pieced together with mass-produced elements, including plastic beads and party jingles with long fringes.