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Contemporary and Traditional: Art by Nocona Burgess

A painting of a Lakota woman in a star shirtLakota in Star Shirt

Nocona Burgess is a Comache artist originally from Oklahoma. Having been exposed to art throughout his life, Nocona has developed a unique style that blends visual elements of contemporary and traditional, pop art and and Native American art.


A portrait of a Yakima cowboy in the 1930'sYakima Cowboy 1934

Generally sticking to acrylic on canvas as a medium, Nocona depicts human subjects, mostly Native elders, in modern and traditional dress. I enjoy the contrast between the subdued, desaturated tones of these faces and the bright monochromatic fields of color that the artist uses as backgrounds. Each portrait subject is essentially surrounded by negative space, but it’s so vibrant that it adds a celebratory edge to the otherwise somber figures.


The image gallery on Nocona Burgess' art websiteNocona's gallery of paintings


Nocona also often paints animals such as coyotes and horses, giving them a similar treatment as his human figures. With each tuft of fur rendered in dark, heavy detail, the coyotes slink across the canvases, often accompanied by brightly colored moons on complementary backgrounds. 


A painting of a coyote under a pale moonCoyote Traveler

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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