Drawing from complex memories and an evolving sense of identity, Brenda Draney (b. 1976, member of Sawridge First Nation, Treaty 8) paints narrative canvases marked by economical brushstrokes and expanses of white space. In Drink from the river, her first solo exhibition in the United States, Draney portrays scenes of daily life, along with those of singular events, that she leaves open-ended or unspecified. The cumulative portrait that emerges references a collective self that encompasses not only her own experience but that of past generations and current community members. Recurring and recognizable motifs of specific figures, pieces of furniture, or architectural features, alongside more generalized joyful and traumatic encounters leave Draney’s oeuvre open to association and to individual connection.
Draney is Cree from Sawridge First Nation, situated by the town of Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada. Her practice is based on her experiences and the relationships formed between her current hometown of Edmonton and the northern community of Slave Lake, where she was raised.
At The Arts Club of Chicago, the exhibition is co-curated by Janine Mileaf, Executive Director and Chief Curator and Jacqueline Kok, Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau Curatorial Fellow at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario. The exhibition originated at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.
Image: Strange Invitation (2020), oil on canvas