Signed, upper right, on canvas: Mateo Romero
In spring 2009, the Hood Museum of Art commissioned Mateo Romero, Class of 1989, to paint a series of ten portraits of Native American Dartmouth students as they danced at the college’s annual Pow-Wow that year. Romero completed the almost life-sized portraits using his signature technique of overpainting a photographic image. Through his use of a brilliant palette, powerful brushstrokes, and bold, sculptural drips, the dancing figures appear to almost hover atop the paintings’ surfaces, achieving a dreamlike quality and evoking the power of the ritual. Romero reflects:
Dartmouth College has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Although I graduated in 1989 and have since been part of numerous academic programs, being a part of the Dartmouth family has been a tangible and real aspect of my life as a mature artist. As my first art dealer in Santa Fe, David Rettig, Class of 1975, once commented, we are part of the Dartmouth Tribe now.
The Dartmouth Pow-Wow Suite has given me the opportunity to come full circle in my artistic life as an active participant in the
vibrancy of the Dartmouth community. It is with tremendous joy and energy that we created these portraits of current Dartmouth students and alumni.
In many Native communities the dance holds a powerful, central place in the structure of the worldview. Dances are, at different times, social, amorous, honoring, ceremonial, spiritual. In the Tewa Pueblos in northern New Mexico, dancers entering the houses of their relatives say, “We Dance for Life.” It is in this spirit that I offer these paintings to the audience. My hope is that the works transcend the limits of ethnic culture and address the
audience on a human level.
Lobby, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 5-June 20, 2014.
Mateo Romero: The Dartmouth Pow-Wow Suite, Harrington Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 27, 2011-January 15, 2012.
Ten Portraits Comissioned by the Hood Museum of Art for the exhibition, Native American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, 2009.
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