To gaze upon a sculpture by Larry Yazzie is to allow your senses to relax. Each piece, no matter its size or subject, allows ones sight to travel the curved line of concave and convex space, of subject and non-subject. His works, whether stone or bronze, exhibit both fine detail and suggestive shapes mirroring equally nature as well as thought.
Acclaimed Native American sculptor Larry Yazzie graduated with honors from the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe in the mid-1980s. Prominent people recognized his talent early and opened doors for him. Since then, Yazzie has been a consistent award winner at prestigious art shows, including his many wins at 2013’s Santa Fe Indian Market: Best of Classification for Sculpture; Best of Representational Sculpture; 1st Place for Stone Sculpture; and 2nd Place for Cast Metal Sculpture; as well as 1st Place for Cast Metal Sculpture at the 2014 Market.
Yazzie begins each new piece without knowing what it will turn out to be. "The stone decides itself what it will be as the piece develops," he explains. "I feel like if you ever get to the place where you know what you're going to do then it's just a job." One has only to look at a Yazzie sculpture to know its creation was not approached as a task to be completed but, instead, reflects the artist's very being - his feelings, his traditions, and the honor he strives to return to his Navajo (Dine´) people.
Sculpting is a labor intensive and time consuming process made easier only by skilled and experienced hands and heart. In order to use stone - literally a part of the earth - to support his family and express his talents, Yazzie always strives to work in harmony with the spirit of the earth. "In the old days everything our people made always had a purpose and a reason; and so, as a Navajo, to now use native designs for artwork that will only be displayed, there are rules." His sculptures, whether abstract or figurative forms, are dignified, elegant and stylized; Yazzie likes clean, simplistic lines and his sculptures have a definite contemporary feel while also representing the artist's cultural values. He stays away from realistically reproducing specific likenesses; this is one of the cultural rules he follows. His figures always come from his own feelings and from the stone itself.