Oklahoma Contemporary

Patterns of Knowing

Patterns of Knowing

Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery
May 18 – Oct. 23, 2023

Patterns of Knowing featured works by three artists — Jordan Ann Craig, the late Benjamin Harjo Jr. and Jeri Redcorn — exploring how patterns sourced from Indigenous cultures embody a lineage of ideas. Through ceramics, paintings, prints and drawings, they considered the relationship between pattern and information.

A swirling mural painted in earth tones on a black background
Jeri Redcorn, Ayo Wahdut Kuku Bit (Sky Earth Water II)

Craig (Northern Cheyenne Tribe) paints large-scale canvases with symmetrical, repeated blocks of color in various hues. Her work draws upon the color and rhythm of Indigenous patch- and beadwork to visually articulate time, space and intimate experiences. Craig’s paintings embody the continent’s long-standing relationship with abstract art.

Harjo Jr. (Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma/Seminole) created colorful prints and paintings often featuring figures in motion against a background frieze of symbols. He experimented with Shawnee and Seminole patterns to generate perspective depth within his compositions. Harjo’s engagement with triangles, squares and stripes celebrates the possibilities of Indigenous pictorial vocabularies.

Redcorn (Caddo Nation of Oklahoma/Citizen Potawatomi) embraces the mathematical and philosophical principles behind Caddoan pottery. Her ceramics feature geometric patterns that weave and intersect to form scrollwork meandering across the surface of vessels. Redcorn’s work evokes the path that heritage Caddo designs have traveled between communities and meditates on their personal and collective significance.

Patterns of Knowing highlighted artworks in which rhythmic, repeated arrangements of shapes, colors and symbols carry knowledge across generations. The exhibition explores how Indigenous artistic principles continue to move and evolve between media, connecting ideas from past to present.

This exhibition was supported by George Records, the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Richard and Glenna Tanenbaum, the Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma Arts Council, The Kanady Family, Annie Bohanon, Anonymous, OG&E, Love’s Travel Stops and Velocigo.

Artist Talk sponsored by Cox.

About the artists

Jeri Redcorn (b. 1939, Albuquerque, N.M.; Caddo Nation of Oklahoma/Citizen Potawatomi; B.S. mathematics, Wayland Baptist University; M.Ed. education administration, Pennsylvania State University) co-founded the Jacobson House Foundation and the Red Earth Festival. Her works are in national collections, including the White House (First Lady Michelle Obama acquired Intertwining Scrolls, 2009). Redcorn’s honors include a residency at Art Institute of Chicago (2004); Rockefeller Fellowship (2007); and election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2021). Redcorn lives in Norman, Okla.

Benjamin Harjo Jr. (1945-2023, Clovis, N.M.; Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma/Seminole; B.F.A., Oklahoma State University) studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and received a Bureau of Indian Affairs grant before serving in Vietnam in 1969. He was named a Red Earth Festival Honored One (2003) and Signature Artist for the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market (2005), and won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Art Studies Association (2009).

Jordan Ann Craig (b. 1992, San Jose, Calif.; Northern Cheyenne Tribe; B.F.A., Dartmouth College) has held residencies at the Institute for American Indian Arts and the Roswell Program and received fellowships from the Society of Architectural Historians and the School for Advanced Research. With her sister, Madison Craig, she co-founded Shy Natives, an apparel line that empowers Indigenous women. She sits on the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Craig lives in Pojoaque Valley, N.M.


Installation view of Patterns of Knowing, including Benjamin Harjo Jr.’s Before the Tears (1995), Where Eagles Bear (1988), Four Phases (2007), Hand Me Downs (1993), A Hare’s Difference (2006), Jordan Ann Craig’s Playing Both Sides (2022), Benjamin Harjo Jr.’s The Age of Sacrifice (2006) and Medicine Bundle (2015). © Benjamin Harjo Jr. © Jordan Ann Craig. Photo: Ann Sherman.

Installation view of Patterns of Knowing, including Jordan Ann Craig's Ladybugs Are Birds (2019), Wallpaper II: Eat Flowers for Powers (2023) and Wallpaper I (2018). © Jordan Ann Craig. Photo: Ann Sherman.

Jereldine "Jeri" Redcorn, Ayo Wahdut Kuku Bit (Sky Earth Water II), 2023. Acrylic paint mixed with soil. © Jereldine "Jeri" Redcorn. Photo: Ann Sherman.


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Oklahoma Contemporary
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