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Wendy Red Star
Hap Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Jennifer Rabin

Wendy Red Star, "Tokens, Gold, & Glory," 2016, gold Mylar, deer hunting decoys, artificial turf, wood palettes

Continuing through August 28, 2016

Four plastic deer decoys, painted gold, stand headless and idle in middle of the gallery. Gold Mylar ribbons spill out of them, like shimmering innards, onto an Astroturf floor. With pointed humor, artist Wendy Red Star draws attention to our misplaced sense of value. In our culture, the head of the deer is the prize, the trophy for the wall. We leave the meat, the heart, the bone — the parts with substance, the only parts that have capacity to feed us. 

Red Star, who is of Crow descent and whose work often challenges ethnographic assumption, holds up a mirror to the shiny plastic distractions that separate us from tradition and value. To accompany the installation, Red Star produced a limited-edition run of trucker hats, their white front panels emblazoned with a Native American caricature. The shirtless figure, sporting a two-feathered headband over his braids, flexes his muscles in a showy display of strength. Red Star hand-beaded the red brims of each cap, juxtaposing mass production with craftsmanship and offering us another reminder of the difference between what is easy and what is real.

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