In A Little Medicine and Magic, a woman with a coyote's head, dressed in a vintage 1950s-style pink dress, appears to be scolding five skunks, balancing on each other's backs. The top skunk is holding the woman’s bright red purse, while the bottom skunk, holding a lipstick, has obviously been experimenting with cosmetics. All the skunks have patches of red lipstick adorning a cheek, haunch, or tail. The tonally varied blue background, which could be a cloudy seaside evening or an artistically embellished wall, adds to the mysterious, magical feel. The anthropomorphized animals, and the naughtiness of skunks caught playing with lipstick, evokes the wonder at the heart of childhood stories and memories, while the coyote-woman adds layers of ancient myth and social commentary.
Buffalohead’s work has been shown at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
Eyes On: Julie Buffalohead is on view at DAM through January 20, 2019.