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Tony Abeyta

 (born 1965)
Tony (Antonio) Abeyta is active/lives in New Mexico / Mexico.  Tony Abeyta is known for abstract Indian figure-motifs.

Tony Abeyta

Biography from the Archives of askART

Growing up in Gallup, New Mexico, Tony Abeyta is a Navajo Indian who knew from the time he was young that he wanted to be an artist.  Abeyta graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and has studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and abroad in France and Italy.  The artist also studied at the Chicago Art Institute as a Ford Foundation Scholar.

In 2002, he was enrolled in a master of arts degree from New York University, having earned an associate degree in fine arts at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe.

In most of his abstract, mixed media works of Indian symbolism, he works with an experimental technique of sand, encaustic wax and layers of oil paint, something he refers to as very tactile and physical.  He also works with wood, earth pigments, iron, bronze, and copper and treats his metals with chemicals to create different colors.

He is the son of painter Narcisso Abeyta and grew up in Gallup rather than on the reservation. He values his cultural heritage, which he reflects in his artwork and is especially focused on expression of spiritual aspects of life.

Biography from Cline Fine Art
"If the paintings are successful, they should communicate a powerful force, a feeling that is contained in all of us.  They are very non-tangible: an idea I have takes on a presence of its own"...Tony Abeyta.

Tony Abeyta, born 1966, knew from very early on that he wanted to be an artist and nothing else. Son of respected Navajo painter Narcisso Abeyta, he had the example set from his father that an skilled artist can make a career with his talents.  Growing up in Gallup, New Mexico, rather than on the reservation, was also a factor in directing Abeyta's career.

Abeyta attended the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, earning an Associate Degree in Fine Arts.  With the help of a Ford Foundation grant, he then traveled to the south of France to study sculpture. Further studies took him to Florence, Italy.  Despite his affection for Europe, Abeyta chose to return to the United States and to study painting in the graduate program at the Chicago Art Institute.

Abeyta views his imagery as intercultural, created out of the experiences of his own life. The creative use of textures, particularly sand, colors and themes are all evidence in Abeyta's paintings.  The artist currently lives and paints in Taos, New Mexico.

Selected Exhibitions:
1998 Cline Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1997 Native Abstraction, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe, NM
1997 Reinventions/Departures, Cline Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1997 Water, Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
1996 US Artists '96, Philadelphia, PA
1995 Group Exhibition, Munich, Germany
1994 Narcisso & Tony Abeyta, Wheelright Museum, Santa Fe, NM
1994 J. Cacciola Galleries, New York, NY
1993 Indian Market Exhibition, Santa Fe, NM
1992 Alumni Exhibition, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1991 Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
1987 One Person Show, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1987 Print Exhibition, Pembroke University, North Carolina
1985 Governor's Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1985 Navajo Community College, Tsaile, AZ

Biography from Adobe Gallery

Educated at Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Art, the Maryland Institute's College of Art in Baltimore, and then overseas in Southern France and Florence, Italy, Tony Abeyta (b.1965) - Navajo (Diné), a graduate of the Maryland Institute, returned to school taking postgraduate classes in art and filmmaking at the Chicago Art Institute on a Ford Foundation scholarship.

Abeyta uses the bold colors representative of his homeland and finds his medium of painting involving sand, acrylic, and oil paint, gold leafing and encaustic wax and collage elements to achieve the desired results of his work.

"I use many different techniques, mediums and processes to reinforce my ideas. Although I have studied sculpture, drawing and printmaking, I choose painting as my means of translating these ideas as well as my spiritual self onto the canvas".

Abeyta works with vast fields of color and texture one might find in Indian crosses, early Navajo (Diné) blanket designs, as well as prehistoric sensibilities of Indian design and earth toned color. Abeyta's work has predominantly focused on Native American deities such as the Navajo (Diné) Yei-be-chai and Kachinas. He shows the importance of these images in Native American religion and culture without literally depicting them.

"I want my work to reinforce the ideology of Indian religion, its strength, its beauty and semblance. I work to create an interpretation of these deities translated through myself and given an identity devoid of their actual documented existence. I'm more interested in an icon or the idea, which these beings represent. This system of ritual belief is the most important basis in Indian culture and insures its infinite existence".

Abeyta makes a living from his artwork, which also deals in American Indian images. Early recognition has allowed him to devote his time to what he loves best. Abeyta is an excellent example of the contemporary Southwestern Indian artist whose struggles for success have differed dramatically from predecessors.

Biography from Cooper's Art Gallery & Brokerage
• Native American Heritage - Navajo
• Raised in Gallup
• Principal works are mixed media sand paintings on canvas.

• Attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), the Chicago Art Institute, the Maryland Institute of Art, the Lacoste School of Art (France), SACI (Florence)
• His work is influenced by Allan Houser, Fritz Scholder and Dan Namingha.
• Mr. Abeyta single-handedly ushered in a new era of Native art… Mixed Media Sand Paintings. He is one of the country's most recognizable Native American artists.
• His conceptual constructs and use of color and sand produce pieces that are unrivaled and instantly qualify for entry into the canons of art history and placement in permanent museum collections.
• "I consider myself a regionalist, accepting that much of what I do is tied to a native culture and place. I find that art is constantly moving, reinventing and affected by the changes in our culture and it's great to feel part of that in some way. While my work focuses on the abstract, it remains based in nature and Native symbols."
• His work has been featured in many publications and books on contemporary Native American artists.
• Mr. Abeyta has won many awards and honors and his works may be found in several permanent museum collections, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Heard Museum of Art, the Southwest Museum, the Wheelright Museum, the Montclaire Art Museum, the Palm Springs Fine Art Center and the Harwood Museum.
• His work is also found in many private collections, including… Raymond James Financial and Roger & Mindy Eiteljorg.

Biography from Blue Rain Gallery
Tony Abeyta is considered one of the finest young contemporary painters today. He explores a variety of mediums including oil, charcoal, and sand. Because he experiments with techniques and images so much, his creativity transcends any label that may be used to identify his work.

Abeyta was commissioned to create the signature image of the National Museum of the American Indian's ground-breaking opening in Washington, DC. Many of Abeyta's highly original works are depictions of complex Navajo beliefs; they evoke the notion that there is power in everyone and everything.

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About  Tony Abeyta

Born:  1965 - Gallup, New Mexico
Known for:  abstract Indian figure-motifs