Historical Vernacular

June 27–July 25, 2009

Opening Reception June 27, 7–10 pm

Melanie Nakaue and Wendy Red Star

Monte Vista Projects presents, “Historical Vernacular”, a two-person show by the artists Melanie

Nakaue and Wendy Red Star that investigates American cultural history, language and traditional

folk crafts.

Melanie Nakaue’s “Folklore” series is comprised of two single-channel animated videos and one

three-dimensional quilt block sculpture. The artist connects the dual role of physical and aesthetic

labor in her maternal and paternal grandmother’s lives, and examines how family histories are

preserved through folklore and folk crafts that reflect the daily histories and lives of working


By juxtaposing analog (folk crafts) and digital (animation/video) forms the artist attempts to create

a discourse between representation, alternative narrative, history and aesthetic and personal

experience though animation, sound and sculpture.

Exhibitions of her sculptures, installations and video screenings include: Beloit College, Beliot, WI,

Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film festival, Portland, OR, Searching for Gold Mountain

Series, Alexander Gallery, Oregon City, OR, Un/Common, Pacific NW College of Art, Portland, OR,

The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA; Supersonic, The Windtunnel, Art Center College

of Art and Design, Pasadena, CA; Gallery 4F, Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco Art Institute, San

Francisco, CA. Melanie was also selected for a public arts commission, Newhall Art Walk, in

Newhall, CA.

Wendy Red Star’s “The Crow Language Project” is both a website and series of non-web

presentations comprised of work made by Wendy Red Star in collaboration with Crow language

speakers. The project is geared towards creative ways to learn how to speak Crow. By using a

creative series of engaging exercises, videos, and interviews with Crow speakers Wendy Red Star

teaches herself and her two year old daughter how to speak Crow.

Wendy Red Star was born in Billings, Montana just outside of the Crow Indian reservation where

she was raised. She grew up in a multi-cultural family. Her mother is of Irish decent, her father a

full blood Crow Indian and her older sister is Korean. Wendy left the Crow Indian reservation when

she was eighteen to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana where she studied

sculpture. She then went on to earning her MFA in sculpture at UCLA. Wendy currently lives in

Portland, Oregon where she is an adjunct professor of art at Portland State University.

Wendy Red Star’s work explores the intersection between life on the Crow Indian reservation and

the world outside of that environment. She thinks of herself as a Crow Indian cultural archivist

speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.

Her work has been shown at Helen E. Copeland gallery, Bozeman, MT, The Fondation

Cartier L’Art Contemporain, Paris, France, The CSULB gallery, Long Beach, CA, Research &

Development, Chicago, IL, The Museum Tower at MOCA, Los Angeles, CA, And/Or gallery,

Dallas, TX, The UCLA New Wight gallery, Los Angeles, CA, The L.A. Municipal Art gallery, Los

Angeles, CA, The Domaine De Kerguehennc, Brittany, France, The Hudson D. Walker gallery,

Provincetown, MA, The Plush Gallery, Dallas TX, The Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, England, The

Luckman gallery, Los Angeles, CA, and The Volitant gallery, Austin, Texas.