Trip to Topawa, 2022
Acrylic ink, oil stick and matte medium on canvas
120 x 72"

This painting begins with two portraits of Tohono O'odham basket weavings sitting next to one another. For “Trip to Topawa,” I am considering how each of these baskets are made and the indigenous knowledge and understanding of what is happening all around us, that allows for these creations to come into existence. From my perspective I see an action of spiraling outward, formed at the core of these two original baskets. One basket executed using rebar wire contrasted with the other work rendered from bear grass, devils claw, and yucca. These designs have momentum, seemingly reflecting what is happening in the cosmos above. When uniting each of these works on one canvas I envision a clashing of galaxies, acted out in weavings of wire and desert harvested materials, then, skewed, and explored on this canvas.

In my painting process I build up texture and color with oil sticks to create movement from the very beginning. This step may not be visible right away as often the lines are obscured by the oil paint, I then go on to apply. In “Trip to Topawa,” I’ve isolated this line work, allowing the texture and color to expand on desert basketry and culture. The centralized gradient of deep reds and maroons originates from the ceremony of harvesting and processing saguaro cactus fruit and sets the tone for the spectrum of color decisions explored throughout. “Trip to Topawa,” is the story of visiting ancestral pieces at the cultural center on my reservation in Topawa, Arizona. This research allowed me to observe and communicate my intentions to the baskets that I would then go on and investigate through abstraction, taking care to follow the linear exploration that the weavers have created before me.

--Ishi Glinsky 




b. United States, 1982


Museum purchase with funds provided by Beth Rudin DeWoody and an anonymous donor





GLINSKY, Ishi and b. United States, 1982, “GLINSKY, Ishi,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed June 14, 2024,