Rabbett Before Horses Strickland
Rabbett Before Horses started painting as a teenager, impressed by the work of European Renaissance and Baroque masters including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian, Velasquez, Rubens and Leonardo.
He studied both the forms and the studio practices of these masters, and creates his work using traditional glazing techniques, where layers of translucent color lend the paintings a glowing quality of emanating light.
The combination of traditional European techniques and forms together with a masterfully-drawn subject matter deeply rooted in Anishinabe culture, places this artist’s work in a class of its own.
Rabbett's paintings introduce viewers to Nanabozho, who appeared to the artist first in his dreams — and then in his art.
Nanabozho is a complex character from Ojibwe mythology. Possessing supernatural powers, he creates medicines to heal the sick and gives assistance to the weak and oppressed. But like humanity, Nanabozho has been "subject to the need to learn". Sometimes he is an active participant in a Strickland painting; more often, he is a solemn witness.
The supreme being for Strickland's Nanabozho is the Earth — Gitchi Manitou. Nanabozho is an emissary from Gitchi Manitou. He did not come into the world but rather came from it. Both spirit (manitou) and human, Nanabozho embodies that which everyone must decide: are you a part of the earth or did you come from someplace else?
Since 1998, Rabbett's paintings have been shown in London, Santa Fe, California, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Duluth and in a traveling exhibit by Honor the Earth, an organization that raises awareness for environmental issues.
Rabbett has sold pieces to collectors in the United States, Japan, Hawaii, most of Europe and Canada.
Rabbett Before Horses Strickland is an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. He continues to create at his home in Bayfield, Wisconsin.
To learn more about Rabbett see all the Artist Profiles in the Press section of this website.