I am a visual artist living in Anchorage. My mother is from Kodiak and was born in Karluk. I loved visiting Kodiak and spending time with my grandmother, Mary Reft Gallagher. My grandparents commercial fished and had grazing rights on Near Island and Long Island with cattle, pigs and ponies. Exploring Kodiak on their boat, hiking, picking berries and beach combing were enriching experiences and have been a great influence on my work as an artist.
I paint with oils on canvas and have been exhibiting my work for over 17 years. My favorite subject matter is landscapes, especially coastal island scenes that evoke my time in Kodiak. I recently have been working on a new body of work that reflects my Kodiak heritage, both Alutiiq and Estonian/Russian. Kodiak has a rich and complex history and I draw on the history of the Russian colonization and the culture of my Alutiiq ancestors.
I have painted a series of Russian icon inspired portraits of Alaska Native women. These paintings are based on my Alutiiq family, as well as, Alaska Native artist friends and family. I blend Alutiiq spiritual design with Christian symbolism in which to acknowledge our shared culture and to elevate and honor my Alutiiq ancestors. The Alutiiq Museum has recently acquired my painting, Saint Katherine of Karluk, an icon portrait inspired by my great grandmother, Katherine Reft.
I have a studio in the Anchorage community of Mountain View and mostly show and sell my paintings out of my studio. My work is part of several permanent collections including the Alutiiq Museum, the Alaska State Museum, the Pratt Museum and the Anchorage Museum. My work was recently exhibited in a solo show at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, AK.
I've created public art in Anchorage, painting large exterior murals. I also participate in the Alaska State Council on the Arts' Artist in Schools program, working with students. My specialty is collaborative murals, working across Alaska in rural villages such as Wales, Russian Mission, Gambell, Shaktoolik and in Kodiak, Old Harbor and my mother's birthplace, Karluk.
Grants, fellowships and museum acquisitions from the Rasmuson Foundation have been fundamental in my career and I am very honored to have received a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2018 National Artist Fellowship. I greatly appreciate the support from Koniag in educational grants for my studies in art which were a big kickstart to my creative practice.