The show is titled "Mato Ta Ota," meaning "His Many Bears," which is also the artist's Indian name.
Mato Ta Ota will be on display in the Main Gallery of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts from June 8-28. The gallery is open to the public free of charge weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. A reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, June 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. when the public is invited to meet the artist and hear him discuss his work.
The exhibit explores a new method of painting on canvas which Cournoyer recently developed. Using a sheet of glass and heavy gel media, the artist creates several layers of transparent colorful forms which are eventually transferred to canvas. Layering color upon color, Cournoyer creates a series of dynamic, contemporary designs that interact without the artist seeing them.
The resulting paintings are full of visual surprises connected by the intuitive hand of an artist experienced in both his craft and his symbolic language. Characterized by bright color, lively textures and abstract patterns, the paintings evoke the rich tradition of Plains Indian design in a fresh and contemporary fashion.
Cournoyer was born in l966 in Wagner, and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge. After serving four years in the United State Marine Corps, Cournoyer received his associate's degree in art from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He earned a B.F.A. and his M.A. in art from USD before completing his M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma, Norman in 2004.
For the past eight years, Cournoyer has coordinated the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute at USD. Cournoyer has over 40 exhibitions to his credit and is represented by galleries in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Italy.