Henry Payer is a Ho Chunk multidisciplinary artist who works primarily in collage and mixed media. Born in Sioux City, IA in 1986, Payer received a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM in 2008. He went on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained a MFA in 2013. Henry has exhibited his work at locations across the Midwest such as the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, NE; the Dahl Art Center in Rapid City, SD; All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis, MN; and De Ricci Galleries in Madison, WI. Payer also spent time as an instructor at the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute in the summer of 2015 and is one of the founding members of the Guild of Indigenous Arts. Henry currently lives with his wife and daughter at Chippewa of the Thames First Nation in Ontario, Canada.
Payer’s narrative compositions are bold and contemporary. His works reference the altered landscape through Indigenous cartographic methods of “picture-writing” with traditional aspects of spatial representation and symbolism combined with European modernist models of cubism, spatial distortion and collage. Each work offers a visual narrative of symbols and appropriated voices from American consumer society that reconfigures history, the landscape or the identity of the portrait. Henry represents the work of a new generation of artists seeking to expand the range and voice of their visual and cultural representation, while attending to forms of tradition.