About the Art:
Howard Cook, Dance of the Hands, Taos,
1954, conte crayon on paper
Gift of the Artist, 1973.031.0132
In this series of abstract drawings, Taos artist Howard Cook
(1901-1980) explores Native American spiritual practice and ritual
through dances he observed at Taos Pueblo. Created in the early 1950s,
these charcoal and conte crayon drawings represent the Deer and Buffalo
Dances, practiced at the Pueblo on December 25 and January 6.
Cook’s abstractions are reflective of the innate transcendental
nature of Native American expression. The power of the ceremony’s
spiritual impression on the artist in intensified by his abstracted
style, marked by a solidification of space in which figures are stacked
and linked through line. Human shapes are united in the moment, losing
individual form and transitioning into a sacred, geometric language
connected in space by the metaphysical energy Cook creates.