Editor’s Letter | Looking Back

Thinking about change on our 44th anniversary

By Kristin Hoerth

Muddy Fields by Peggy McGivern.

Muddy Fields by Peggy McGivern.

This story was featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

This issue marks the 44th anniversary of Southwest Art magazine. That’s not a particularly major milestone—we’ll save the big celebrations for the 45th and 50th anniversaries yet to come—but worth noting nonetheless. In the spirit of marking another year, we’ve devoted a dozen pages in this month’s issue to checking in with artists who have been featured in the past (see page 112). We wanted to see what they’ve been up to since we last heard from them, and how their work has changed—or not—in the ensuing years.

A few of the artists told us that, frankly, their work hasn’t undergone much change at all. But many spoke of seeing their work evolve in ways both subtle and not so subtle. For example, Andre Kohn speaks of “feeling more comfortable exploring new themes while remaining loyal to my artistic style, vision, and personal interpretation.” Peggy McGivern says that her work “has become much more grounded, and I’ve refined my brush stroke and composition. I go after my subject matter much more boldly.” Jeannine Young has “explored a broader range of feelings and movement” in her figurative sculpture. And Mark Stewart says, “I’m looser with paint, and my subjects have become simpler.”

 Heaven Help Me by Jeannine Young.

Heaven Help Me by Jeannine Young.

I think it’s fascinating to listen in as these artists take stock of such gradual developments, which are not necessarily obvious on a day-to-day basis but which become clear when they step back to consider their accumulated works over time. It gives us, as collectors, insight into their creative processes, which in turn allows us to view their work with more context and new perspective.

For example, McGivern mentions that instead of “trying to demand the viewers’ attention with bright, in-your-face colors, I gently invite them in with a color palette reminiscent of the 1940s: rich burnt oranges, brassy greens, grayish plums, and that wonderful dark red from that period.” Knowing this, I look at her piece titled MUDDY FIELDS and immediately pay more attention to the color scheme: the brassy green is there in the field, and the grayish plum in the background trees. Young says, “Until a few years ago my work consisted primarily of female figures conveying thoughtfulness and serenity. In recent years I have expressed joy, romance, heartbreak, humor, and gratitude.” So when I look at her sculpture HEAVEN HELP ME, I feel the woman’s anguish—while still also immediately recognizing it as one of Young’s pieces. I hope you, too, gain new insight after reading the artists’ thoughts on their work.

Featured in the May 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art May 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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