05 Feb 2024 / 06 Oct 2023

Nicholas Galanin: Interference Patterns

Interference Patterns is a solo exhibition of new and recent work by multidisciplinary Tlingit and Unangax̂ artist Nicholas Galanin. Rooted in his relationship to Land, Indigenous visual language, and thought, Galanin merges conceptual and material practices in his expansive creative approach. Utilizing numerous materials and processes, Galanin continues to build a vast creative vocabulary, reflecting on and speaking to the world from an Indigenous perspective.

Interference Patterns presents a selection of sculptures, installations, and videos celebrating Indigenous knowledge and continuum challenging the legacies and consequences of colonization and occupation. A newly commissioned interactive installation, Neon American Anthem (red), invites audiences to participate in a cathartic release of sound and breath as a warranted response to legislated violence and oppression by the United States on those inside and outside its borders.

Galanin’s work boldly and intentionally disrupts colonial narratives and fictions by centering Indigenous perspectives at the intersection of Land and Water, cultural erasure, forced assimilation, natural and forced migration, environmental violence, and climate crisis with settler-colonial capitalism.

Through his multi-layered work, Galanin offers space for reflection and urgency, for interdependence and connection within diverse experiences. His work presses for change; of mind, heart, and action on a global scale.

About the Artist

Examining the complexities of contemporary Indigenous identity, culture, and representation, Nicholas Galanin works from his experience as a Lingít and Unangax̂ artist. Embedding incisive observation and reflection into his oftentimes provocative work, he aims to redress the widespread misappropriation of Indigenous visual culture, the impact of colonialism, as well as collective amnesia. Galanin reclaims narrative and creative agency, while demonstrating contemporary Indigenous art as a continually evolving practice.

As he describes: “My process of creation is a constant pursuit of freedom and vision for the present and future. I use my work to explore adaptation, resilience, survival, dream, memory, cultural resurgence, and connection and disconnection to the land.” Galanin unites both traditional and contemporary practices, creating a synthesis of elements in order to navigate “the politics of cultural representation.” Speaking through multiple visual, sonic, and tactile languages, his concepts determine his processes, which include sculpture, installation, photography, video, performance, and textile-based work. This contemporary practice builds upon an Indigenous artistic continuum while celebrating the culture and its people; Galanin contributes urgent criticality and vision through resonant and layered works.

Nicholas Galanin earned a BFA at London Guildhall University (2003), an MFA at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (2007), and apprenticed with master carvers and jewelers. He currently lives and works with his family in Sitka, Alaska. Galanin participated in Desert X, Palm Springs (2021); Biennale of Sydney (2020); Venice Biennale (2017); Whitney Biennial (2019); and Honolulu Biennial (2019). Galanin’s work is in permanent collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Denver Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Princeton University. He received an award from American Academy of Arts and Letters (2020) and received a Soros Arts Fellowship (2020).

Photo by Merritt Johnson