By Donna Tennant
Gone to Sanctuary: From the Sins of Confusion
By John S. Kiewit
“Follow the double yellow line of wheel tracks through the sand and rock, and you will find a habitation somewhere huddled in a protected place, with a few trees pointing their roots at the under-earth water, a patch of starveling corn and squash, and strips of jerky hanging on a string. There is a breed of desert men, not hiding exactly but gone to sanctuary from the sins of confusion.”
With this quote from John Stein-beck’s Travels With Charley, John Kiewit opens a lavish book of his photographs culled from 30 years of wandering the West. Each photograph is paired with a quote from such inveterate travelers as Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, and Paul Theroux or naturalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and Walt Whitman. Occasionally the quotes are from Kiewit’s own journals.
The photographs, most of which are in color, range from long shots of mountain vistas to old cars abandoned in the desert to strange characters encountered along the way. Kiewit also has an unerring eye for the abstract, as seen in his close-ups of weathered wood, rusting metal, once-painted concrete, and canyon walls.Kiewit was born in Los Angeles in 1948 and grew up in Malibu. Influenced by Walker Evans and Edward Weston, he began traveling in the 1960s, taking pictures and keeping a journal. He currently lives on a coastal ranch in Gaviota, CA.
Thomas Morana: Artist of the Mountains
By Thurman Wilkins
This extensively revised edition of Thurman Wilkins’ definitive 1966 biography of Thomas Moran draws on new information and recent scholarship to illustrate that the artist was not just a western painter but also a frequent traveler both in the United States and abroad. Moran traveled to his native Britain and to Venice, Mexico, the Southwest, and Florida. These trips inspired memorable landscapes and seascapes, as did the sojourns of the Moran family in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and rural Long Island. The book was published with the help of the author’s daughter, Caroline Lawson Hinkley, to coincide with the 1997-98 retrospective exhibition of Moran’s work organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, and the University of Washington in Seattle. Before his retirement Wilkins was professor of English at Queens College in New York City.1998 University of Oklahoma Press, Norman (ISBN 0-8061-3040-7), 464 pages, 43 illustrations, 8 in color, $39.95 hardbound
The Taos Society of Artists
Edited and annotated by Robert R. White
In the 15 years since the first edition of this book
was published, much new information about the Taos Society of Artists has come to light, prompting reassessments of what actually hap-pened during the early years of the Taos art colony. To mark the centennial of the arrival of Ernest Blum-enschein and Bert Geer Phillips in Taos, this comprehensive account of the society has been reissued. An extensive new preface discusses the research on the Taos Society and individual artists undertaken in the past 15 years.
Included here are the actual minutes of the meetings of the group from its founding in 1915 to its dissolution in 1927. Also provided is a candid view of the personal lives of the artists, revealing their hopes and plans, the financial difficulties they faced, and the conflicts between members of the society. Rare photographs, including Phillips’ 1898 photo of the broken wheel on their wagon that caused the two artists to discover Taos, comple-ment the text.1998 University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque (ISBN 0-8263-1946-7), 126 pages, 26 halftones, $16.95
Portraits From the Desert: Bill Wright’s Big Bend
In 1950 Bill Wright, then a senior in high school, piled into an old pickup truck with four friends and made a trip that forever changed his life—an excursion to Big Bend in West Texas. The people and the rugged, dramatic landscape of the region left their mark on Wright, and over the next 50 years he returned frequently to the area named for the huge bend that the Rio Grande River takes on its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. In this book of memorable black-and-white photographs and lively, perceptive text, Wright captures the spirit of the region and its residents.
1998 University of Texas Press, Austin, 176 pages, 84 illustrations, 16 in color, $40 hardbound (ISBN 0-292-79115-I), $24.95 softbound (ISBN 0-292-79116-X)
Featured in November 1998