Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 19, 2001 - Issue 36



John Nieto

John Nieto is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished and exciting contemporary artists in the United States. An innovative interpreter of his native southwest, Nieto's dramatic compositions and bold use of color translate classic American themes into unmistakably modern images that somehow escape the boundaries of time.

While Nieto maintains that his art "is the result of an emotional involvement with my subject matter rather than a cerebral one," his powerfully evocative paintings reveal a seamless blend of instinct and keen intelligence. His deft handling of Western motifs- including Native American tribal representatives, warriors, and ceremonial dancers, as well as legendary frontiersmen or indigenous wildlife- demonstrates why these icons still loom large in the national consciousness. Wielding his brush with precision and control, Nieto invests each figure with a mesmerizing presence.

Heralded both for his muscular style and his technical virtuosity, Nieto has won legions of admirers in the U.S. and elsewhere. An artist of established international reputation, his work has been exhibited in Europe, Japan, Latin America, and Africa, in addition to his annual shows in Santa Fe, New York and Palm Springs. In 1981 his work was exhibited at the Salon D`Automne/Grand Palais in Paris, France. His work is also featured in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The subject of two books and countless articles, Nieto has attained a commanding stature by virtue of his consistently strong output.

In 1994, Nieto received New Mexico's prestigious Governor's Award for achievement in the Arts. He has served on the Advisory Board of The Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, the Advisory Board of the Native American Preparatory School, and is a Regent at his alma mater, Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Since the 1890's, the Olympics has been creating commemorative artwork in honor of the games, the athletes that participate and in celebration of the host city. It is the tradition of the Olympic organizing committee to select an artist whose work embodies both the region of the host country, and also the spirit of the Olympic Games. Revered American artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein have been selected for past Olympics; for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter games John Nieto was selected overwhelmingly as the nominee by the organizing committee. Mr. Nieto was then commissioned to create three pieces that would become the "Olympic Power" suite.

John Nieto lives and works in Corrales, New Mexico, on the banks of the Rio Grande and his roots run deep in New Mexico, his ancestral birthplace for over 300 years.

John Nieto-Olympic Power Suite




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