Robert Freeman: A Retrospective

June 6 through August 30, 2014

The Battle

The Battle

The Dakota Discovery Museum is pleased to announce its newest exhibit Robert Freeman: A Retrospective, which opens on June 6 with over 50 original works of art. An artist’s reception scheduled from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.  Robert Freeman will present a gallery talk at 6:00 pm.

Born on the Rincon Indian Reservation in 1939, Freeman is Hunkpapa Sioux and Luiseno. During his childhood, he lived on the Rincon Reservation in Vallejo, California while spending summers with his grandmother and cousins on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota where he is an enrolled member of that tribe.

Freeman has been an international fine arts artist for over five decades, mastering a variety of styles and mediums.  He has become one of the most accomplished Native American artists to date, having won over 200 awards, producing several public works and exhibiting his work in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries and museums.

Initially a self-taught artist, Freeman first started painting using house paints and Time magazines for reference.  

Runner's Circle

Runner’s Circle

“I started pursuing art in about 1961, and like many other young artists was very impressed by the work of Picasso,” said Freeman.  “I liked cubism and did many cubist paintings and drawings in India ink.”

Freeman also discovered that he liked to experiment with the abstraction and surrealism inherent in figures, finding it challenging to create an image from something else. The work of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte especially influenced him.

Freeman soon began to incorporate realism in his art, entering many his works in shows.

“I began winning awards,” Freeman said, “but the pieces that were winning were the cubist and surrealistic pen and ink drawings, so I think people have always been drawn to them.”

By 1967, Freeman was working full-time as an artist and in the 1970s began to travel again to South Dakota where his works were selling well.  During his many trips, he met Native American artist Oscar Howe and learned of other Native American artists such as Robert Penn.  Freeman began to bring his unique style to his Native American work, exhibiting his art through the St. Joseph’s Indian School, the Red Cloud Indian School and the Northern Plains Indian Art Show.

Sea Shore

Sea Shore

Robert Freeman defies categories as an artist as he works in an array of mediums and styles including pencil, pen, ink, acrylic, mixed media, oils, and sculptures of wood, stone, and bronze.  Today, Freeman works extensively from his home in California, continuing to create art, pursuing one of his greatest enjoyments.

Robert Freeman: A Retrospective exemplifies Freeman’s love of surrealism and cubism.  The exhibit will open June 6 and run through August 30.  The artist’s reception the evening of June 6 will be free to the public.

The exhibit and reception are at the Dakota Discovery Museum, 1300 McGovern Ave., Mitchell, SD.  As of June 1, museum hours will be 9 am to 7 pm Mon-Sat and 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday.  For more information call 605-996-2122.