Editor’s Letter | A Blockbuster Month

Reports from three major June shows

By Kristin Hoerth

Silence and Sagebrush (detail) by Jeremy Lipking, winner of the Prix de West Purchase Award.

Silence and Sagebrush (detail) by Jeremy Lipking, winner of the Prix de West Purchase Award.

This story was featured in the August 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

I had the great fortune to spend three consecutive weekends in June attending major art shows across the country. First up was the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, VT. I hadn’t been to New England in nearly 20 years, and I had forgotten just how different the landscape feels—like strolling through a tight canopy of leafy green trees instead of gazing out across wide-open spaces. So lovely, but in such a different way than what I’m used to.

The show, however, was of the same high quality that I’ve come to expect. I saw wonderful paintings from established, well-known artists and fresh pieces from up-and-coming artists with whom I was less familiar. In the latter category, I was particularly impressed by THE COMMUTE by Hilarie Lambert (which won the Figurative Honorable Mention), SELF-PORTRAIT WITH KEY by Aimee Erickson (which won the Portraiture Award of Excellence), HUNG THE OCEAN by Paul Cheng (which won the Seascape Honorable Mention), and THE GARDENER’S SHED by Joreen M. Benbenek (which won the Still Life Honorable Mention). Top awards went to Louis Escobedo (Gold), Bo Zhang (Silver), and Xiao S. Jiang (Bronze).

The second show on my itinerary was the annual Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. It was one of the most successful in recent years, with energetic crowds at every event and a weekend sales total of $3.25 million compared to last year’s $2.9 million. This year’s big winners were Jeremy Lipking, who won the Prix de West Purchase Award; George Carlson, who won both the Frederic Remington Painting Award and (for the fifth year in a row) the Robert Lougheed Award for artists’ choice; and John Coleman, who won both the James Earle Fraser Sculpture Award and the Buyers’ Choice Award.

For the final piece of my June art trifecta, I got to stay close to home to attend the opening night of Weekend in the West, hosted by Evergreen Fine Art just outside Denver. The show offers a nice mix of highly regarded artists (Quang Ho, Jeff Legg) and others who are just starting to make their marks (Kelli Folsom, Dan Oakleaf). Once again, enthusiastic collectors packed the gallery, and red dots were everywhere. Awards went to Ed Kucera, Karen Roehl, Pati Stajcar, and Jie Wei Zhou.

By the way, August is a blockbuster month, too, with the art season reaching its peak in Santa Fe in particular. I hope to see you at some of the shows!

Featured in the August 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art August 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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