By Kristin Hoerth
In just about every issue of Southwest Art, there are a few things that stand out to me while I’m editing stories or selecting images. Sometimes it’s particular artwork that I just can’t stop looking at. Other times it’s a quote from one of our featured artists that’s especially well phrased or strikes a chord. And sometimes I realize, as the month’s work draws to a close, that an unintended theme has emerged.
That’s what happened in this month’s issue: While doing a final review of the features and columns, I noticed that the idea of exploration appears again and again. The first instance is in our newest column, Success Stories, in which we check in with artists who appeared in our pages a number of years ago and have since gone on to successful careers. William Matthews is the subject of this month’s column, and one of the things he discusses is his love of travel—his “drug of choice.” Over the years he’s gone to Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia, and northern Africa, and he had this to say about the influence of travel on his art: “I think to be an artist is to be a person who explores his curiosity. The most interesting people are truly the curious ones who keep searching for new ideas and elements of stimulation.”
Another inveterate traveler in this month’s issue is Colorado painter Kim English (at right), who visits Europe and Mexico at least once a year with his wife, fellow artist Andi Mascarenas. In these foreign lands, English captures both people and places, and as writer Rosemary Carstens notes, the resulting paintings possess “a rare freshness that keeps you looking, wondering about the people or places depicted, seeking their deeper meanings.”
Finally, two of the artists in our “City Scenes” portfolio discuss the theme of exploration and discovery in the context of architecture. Misty Martin focuses on buildings as footprints that humankind leaves on the world. As she says, “The built environment contains so many memories, so many traces of the individuals who strived to make it. Those buildings are containers of the past as well as the present. There is so much to learn about the people who created these structures and their choices in making them.” Danny Heller is equally intrigued by architecture: Whether it’s iconic buildings in L.A. or mid-century modern suburban tract housing, he’s intrigued by the history found in these structures.
As these artists explore the world, both near and far, we art-lovers have the good fortune to be armchair travelers—going along with them on their journeys of discovery, vicariously enjoying the sights through their paintings. Art truly enlarges our view of the world. -May 2010