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Dramatic Portraits: The Painting Portfolio of Nocona Burgess

A painting of a native American man in traditional clothingModern Warrior

Nocona Burgess is an artist and a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. In his artistic practice, Nocona paints powerful, often dramatic portraits of native American people from different nations around North America.

A painting of a woman from the Hopi tribeHopi 2


The artist’s paintings are made all the more striking by his use of monochromatic backgrounds, sometimes incorporating geometric elements. There’s a contrast at play here between the traditional, portrait-style treatment of the human figures, and these geometric elements that hearken to Western contemporary art of the mid 20th century and beyond.

A screen capture of Nocona Burgess' art


Nocona draws from a combination of research and personal experience in constructing the details of each portrait. The resulting works are carefully constructed and command the viewer’s full attention in construction and unpacking a narrative behind each face. The strikingly bright colours and stark compositions of the works help to clear away all obstacles for the viewer, allowing Nocona’s subjects to be seen fully.    

A painting of a black wolf on a blue backgroundStraggler

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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