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On the ledger

Not doodles, but art.

Courtney Silva March 2nd, 2011

A traditional American Indian art form is given a contemporary update in the exhibit “Love of Ledger Art: History in Pictures,” now showing at the Tribes 131 Fine Art Gallery, 131 24th Ave. in Norman.

Dolores Purdy Corcoran, one of the four artists featured, became interested in ledger art after stumbling upon a book of ledger drawings done by American Indian prisoners of war.

“These prisoners would find any old piece of paper and draw scenes of everyday life,” said Corcoran. “What struck me was how sophisticated the drawings were for the time period and the materials they had. They would have made Picasso proud.”

Ledger art of the early 19th century depicted scenes of battle, as well as other traditional themes like hunting or religious practices. Corcoran said the art form has changed over the years.

“It’s an old art form, but it is being made new and contemporary,” she said.

“It’s interesting to see how this form of expression that was started so long ago has really evolved.”

Corcoran prefers to draw her artwork on paper from the 1870s, because it makes the piece that much more interesting.

“It’s like there are two stories going on,” she said. “There’s the actual drawing itself, but if the paper has writing on it, it tells a completely different story.” “Love of Ledger Art” remains on display through March 18. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 329-4442 or visit tribes131.com. —Courtney Silva

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