Editor’s Letter | Deeper Meaning

This month’s artists convey a sense of connection

By Kristin Hoerth

Dragonfly by John Coleman.

Dragonfly by John Coleman.

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Artists create for all kinds of reasons. Some may be motivated to portray a particular way of life; others might be fascinated by the individual personalities of people or animals. Still others may be struck by the beauty to be found in daily life.

For many artists, though, capturing and conveying something deeper and more meaningful than the subject itself is the ultimate goal. And this notion of communicating universal truths is more evident than ever in this month’s issue, which is unexpectedly full of musings on that very theme.

Consider, for example, our story on sculptor and painter John Coleman, whose major solo show, entitled Spirit/Lives/Legends, opens this month at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale (see page 66). Coleman’s works have always been focused on Indian figures, but their real meaning for the artist goes well beyond the figure. “Native American stories explore what might be the idea of spirit in a way that is universal,” Coleman says. “I feel the need to communicate something deeper than the subject alone. We all want and need to feel connected, and it’s that connection I’m interested in.”

Or take painter Peter Fiore (page 84), whose recent in-depth explorations of individual trees have led him to spend hours in the wooded landscape near his home in northeastern Pennsylvania. As writer Elizabeth L. Delaney notes, his canvases depict the sanctity found in nature, and he strives to access the essence of the subject matter, to speak to a deeper consciousness within artist and viewer. He refers to the forest as a holy place in terms of imparting something universally greater than ourselves. “Trees are a wonderful symbol for life on this earth,” Fiore says. “I’m looking for something more eternal and, for me, more meaningful—not just a beautiful execution.”

Finally, listen to California painter Rick J. Delanty (page 20) talk about his motivation for painting what’s around him: “The goal is to indicate a world and place that is better even than the one we have here. I’m looking for God’s creation in my hometown, in the mountains, near streams, and across oceans. I believe it’s in all of those places, and if I don’t see it, it just means I’m not looking.”

I hope that artworks by Coleman, Fiore, and Delanty—and the other talented artists featured this month—bring you a deep sense of connection and meaning.

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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