Steven J. Yazzie

Region: West

My work is about landscape and landform. I’m interested in the environmental histories that have shaped the landscape of the present, and the esoteric cultural aspects that shape identity and connectedness to specific areas. Recently, I decided to expand beyond the established painting convention of cultural narratives and meanings, and incorporate ideas associated with uniformitarianism, a theory in Earth science that suggests the natural world and its geologic processes work in the same manner today as it did before recorded time. This notion of the geologic process, cultural history, and environmental history has given me a larger context to consider, not only in the meanings in my work, but also in the process involved in creating the work. I’m ultimately searching for the same otherness, or enigmatic quality painting can have, similar to a feeling one might experience while standing in the middle of a canyon shaped by the shifting earth, moving water, and millions of years.