Most people don’t know Willard Stone, a Cherokee sculptor who did amazing work, most of in in the 1940s. He was deeply affected by the threat of atomic war, and that is the subject of several of his pieces. There’s a show and centennial celebration of his work at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma until January 22nd, 2017. Hyperallergic has an excellent article about Mr. Stone.
TULSA, Okla. — Willard Stone’s wood-carving style might be described as Art Deco Cherokee, with a distinct, streamlined movement and natural themes that reflect his indigenous heritage. He’d originally wanted to be a painter, but a childhood accident with a blasting cap blew off his thumb and two other fingers. So he slowly learned sculpture instead, forming figures from Oklahoma’s red clay. His 1940s work in particular responded to the threat and promise of atomic energy, while still including the Native American motifs expected by his patrons. To mark the centennial of his birth in Oktaha, Oklahoma, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa is exhibiting Following the Grain: A Centennial Celebration of Willard Stone.