Celebrating the Art of JoAnne Bird: A Retrospective Exhibition
Born in Oakland, California, in 1945, JoAnne Bird was raised in northeastern South Dakota by her grandmother, who played a major role in her creative education, from infancy to young adulthood. Bird is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.
Bird knew from early childhood her destiny was to be an artist. After graduating from high school in Flandreau, South Dakota, she received art training at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota; Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota; and the Institute of American Indian Arts at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
After working for the 3M Company, Bird decided to leave the commercial art field to devote her life fulltime to a professional art career.
Bird’s paintings depict her Native American heritage, mainly portraying the rich traditional way of life in a contemporary style. Much of her work is spiritual in nature and timeless. Her work often employs rich, bold colors in a fluid motion presenting images of warriors and horses that seem to be approaching the viewer straight off the canvas.
Her technique and mastery of handling a paint brush with precision are unique: a combination of controlled paint throwing and palette knife.
Bird is also an accomplished bronze sculptor. Her sculptures, many larger than life, can be found throughout the United States and Europe. She has completed several municipal sculptures in Minnesota and will unveil a 9’ bronze of Chief Wabasha in Wabasha, MN, in June 2010.
In recent years, Bird began to make prints of her original work on canvas or watercolor paper, utilizing an increasingly acceptable popular technique known as giclée prints.
Bird has won numerous awards and honors for her work and in 1992 was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame as Artist of the Year. She has exhibited at the CWS Artists of the Plains Show & Sale for many years.
Above right: Wedding Blessing; middle, Honor; bottom, Spirit Within