Often times when art lovers hear an artist speak or see a new gallery opening, there are expectations. Some may assume that they can predict where inspiration for a piece is coming from, while others assume that the designer will talk about form and composition in their open forum.
However, most art lovers would never have seen Dacian Cavender-DeMuth come to the recent KK Berge gallery opening of “Running Boy Wolf” after experiencing the expanse of colors and the history captured in the works. on the wall. Maybe it’s because Dacian is six years old and is around 36 inches tall.
“Running Boy Wolf” features the works of Dacian, a young artist from Pezutazizi K’api, the Upper Sioux community, who completed some of the pieces in the series when he was only four years old.
Dacian art uses direction and perspective in an almost scholarly way to challenge the viewer to see more from all angles. Many pieces in the exhibit are a copy of an image, but when turned in another direction or quadrupled in printing and assembling, the copies, inverts, and reflections of his art can transform a man into a horse. or a brain into a burning ship. .
When asked if he had more works he hoped to exhibit, Dacian eagerly replied, “I wanted to do all my art but the room was too small. It’s a laugh-worthy moment for his smiling dad, Scott Demuth, who has a home filled with the treasures of young Cavender-Wilson. The little artist was faced with tough choices, but everything that was included in the exhibit tells a story and marks a moment.
The first piece that Dacian shares in the interview is his self-portrait. He was three years old at the time and was taking a children’s art and wilderness course from KK Berge on the tracks of animals. The course was taught by Karen Odden, member of the Granite Area Arts Council. “I broke the rules,” Dacian said, pointing to the room framed in the paw prints with a smirk. He then explained that he had been tasked with creating an animal tracks book alongside the other participants. Instead, Dacian dove deep into animal track stamps, mixing colors and quickly incorporating his tiny handprints onto a large sheet. “This was the first time in hindsight that I had to say, wow. He’s creating something really intentional right now. He’s making art,” said a proud Demuth.
Dacian moves the story to another wall. As he stands in front of a large dark watercolor circle, scattered over four glass-wrapped pages, he begins to share the story of the play. “I was in trouble when I did that,” Dacian recalls of his five-year-old. There was no shame in his voice when he made this statement. No saddened memory of the wait time. He seemed almost too familiar with the beautiful balance created by the tumult of her boundless energy and the art she inevitably produced. When he finished the original sheet during the downtime, Dacian describes throwing the paper over “Dada” and saying “Here I am done”. He had chosen watercolor as a rest activity instead of meditation that day. At the end of the original artwork, a bold teal blue background with a solid black arc cutting a corner is revealed. The story continues, “It’s a circle,” Dacian tells his father.
“It’s not a circle,” her dad said in disagreement. “It’s two lines.”
“Uh, no, you don’t understand,” Dacian retorted.
But today’s discussion would end there; to be picked up a year later in preparation for the Running Boy Wolf exhibition.
Dacian and his father describe sifting through his array of artwork from inside their home when Dacian suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, this is the circle! ”
Now in a different headspace, with his eyes and ears open, Demuth asked Dacian to explain himself. Through the exchange that followed, Demuth discovered that Dacian had viewed the piece as a puzzle, in duplicate. The pair digitally mirrored and rotated the original painting, then printed copies to provide the missing puzzle pieces. Down and behold, when four copies were arranged in the correct order, a circle emerged.
The painting is titled “The Running Man and the Great Race”, named after a Dakota story favored by the young artist. The description of the work explains: “Around the Black Hills there is a beautiful valley, which the Dakotas call the race track, stained red with the blood of runners and animals. By winning the Great Race, humans were allowed to hunt buffalo and became the custodians of Creation.
His well-articulated and story-driven exhibition descriptions explain: “Running Boy Wolf is an exhibition of the work and creative process of a young artist. Through layering of a multidimensional perspective and reflection / mirroring at the heart of Dakota methodology and cosmology, deceptively simple doodles, sketches and paintings of a child are transformed. “
Dacian dances in front of his art while photos are taken. He may be happy to stretch out at the end of the interviews, but it seems more likely that he’s moving to the beat of his own drum – crisp beat, no inhibition. If the imposed “downtime” is what prompts the Wolf Boy to produce art like the current fascinating exhibit, then sorry, Dacian, the art world hopes you will soon be rooted again.
The “Running Boy Wolf” exhibition will be on display at the KK Berge gallery until October 31st. Stop in the art space to read the stories developed from Dacian’s work alongside the original creations.