James Meyer monograph - 2005

Untitled - Universal Limited Art Editions

In Meyer's first solo show we see pairings of images, positive and negative ones, or safe, innocent ones, paired with their source; or real situations showing their origins. The juxtaposition of these images creates a language of its own. Using this language, the viewer gets closer to the ideas the artist is presenting.

Red Indian Outfit is of children play-acting "Indian" as they sit on a horse in the sun. The opposing panel depicts the reality of paying tribute to a warrior's life: his horses walking with him in the afterlife. The string running across the painting ties both worlds together.

New Mexico Anastasi Indian petroglyph symbols were carved on black basalt stone specifically carried to the entrances of valleys. In a manner reminiscent of present day newspapers, these heaps of stone recorded for travelers of different tribes what happened in the direction they were headed. In Food Chain, petroglyphs swim over two families doing the same thing at the same time: catching fish. One family fishes to live, the other for sport. The painting becomes its own petroglyph.

In these themes of multiple-use of images and showing the differences between two cultures, Meyer has laid the groundwork for the way he will continue to develop. Using themes from both Western and American Indian philosophy, he explores the similarities and reasons for why people do things. "There's the daily struggle to survive vs. the recreational way we live; it's not new, it's always been the case," says Meyer, referring to ancient and present times. This has remained a constant that develops to different ends in each painting.

- James Meyer

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