Robert Kuester, Shady Lakes Afternoon, oil, 22 x 28, Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Award, 1992 Oil Painters of America National.
By Susan Hallsten McGarry
They called it the Mother Road and America’s Main Street. Stretching from Chicago, IL, to Los Angeles, CA, Route 66 was truly The Road West. In its heyday in the 1950s, it symbolized America on the move. Dressed in flashing neon and commemorated in countless trinkets, Route 66 today is pretty much a memory. Nevertheless, this path through eight states continues to inspire writers, artists and travelers on the lookout for art. In Art Adventures this month, Dawn Dorsey follows the 2,400-mile highway, pointing out some of the summer’s hottest gallery and museum exhibitions along the way.
One of the most tantalizing exhibits on Route 66 is at the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK. This year’s annual Rendezvous Retrospective showcases the work of Colorado artists Clyde Aspevig and Steve Kestrel. Aspevig’s atmospheric landscapes combined with Kestrel’s stylized animal sculptures in stone and bronze promise visitors an “artistic ecosystem,” writes Gregg Piburn a journey into unsullied wilderness with primordial encounters at every turn.
Steve Kestrel, Resting Nighthawk, schist riverstone, 61⁄2 x 221⁄2 x 10.
Route 66 continues into central New Mexico, and you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t take a detour north from Albuquerque’s neon-studded Central Avenue to Santa Fe and Taos two major art markets kicking off the art season with a variety of exhibits (see Best of the West, page 74). Cover artist Poteet Victory’s boldly painted and heavily textured images can be seen at Contemporary Southwest Galleries in Santa Fe, and in Taos, Quast Galleries hosts the Oil Painters of America’s sixth annual national exhibition featured in our article “Winners.” The OPA, of which Clyde Aspevig is a master signature member, champions traditional standards in this venerable medium. Along with Robert Kuester’s Shady Lakes Afternoon shown here, we showcase several winners from past exhibitions and talk with OPA judges about the qualities they look for in a top-of-the-line oil painting.
Who were the winning artists showcased in Southwest Art during the past 12 months? The annual index to artists and artwork featured in our editorial pages, which begins on page 125, identifies hundreds of established and up-and-coming artists whose names you ought to know. It’s a list distinguished by excellence, and the editorial staff is proud to have brought these artists and their work into your life.
Take time to see their artwork in person as you travel art roads across the West.
Featured in May 1997