October 18-November 23
This story was featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
What do trains, computers, cameras, and sewing machines have in common? They are all objects featured in paintings in a show on view at Abend Gallery this month. Titled American Industry, the show pays homage to American ingenuity and creativity, both in this century and in bygone eras. The participating artists are Clyde Steadman, Arleta Pech, Peggy McGivern, Robert Spooner, Jennifer McChristian, Stephanie Hartshorn, Mikael Olson, and Jim Beckner. The show, which features 45 works, opens on October 18 with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m.
Clyde Steadman’s LEAVING PHIPPSBURG, on view in the show, depicts a train steaming through the small town of Phippsburg in northwestern Colorado. The painting is part of an ongoing series that reflects the artist’s belief that the West was “won” through commerce and industry. “Phippsburg is a beautiful, rural place with farms, ranches, and a rail yard,” Steadman says. “The incongruity and the juxtaposition of the train and the scenery drive home the hard work done by the people who settled here and resolved to make Colorado a modern state.”
Arleta Pech turns to the World War II era as inspiration for her painting COLLECTED TOYS. The still life speaks to a time, she says, when toys were made in America but also eventually melted down to help construct tanks, planes, and weapons. Today these toys are scarce, Pech says.
For the painting POWER PLANT, Peggy McGivern casts a creative eye on Tulsa, OK, where she recently discovered a small power plant outside the city that intrigued her. “I was drawn to its brilliant orange clay bricks against the stark but soft prairie grass surrounding the building for miles,” McGivern says.
For Robert Spooner, a painting is not so much about a specific building or city but about the process. The expressionistic SKY FISHING is part of what Spooner calls his “deconstruction series,” wherein he uses a traditional subject but explores contemporary styles. “These paintings are about the opportunity for shape development,” he says. “Regardless of the subject matter, it is all about the shapes and exploring the endless possibilities within them. The painting process is an indirect, multilayered approach, and I hope to continue to grow from such inspired expression.”
Finally, Jennifer McChristian takes her visual comment on American industry indoors, to a nightclub with a retro, 1920s Hollywood flavor in downtown Los Angeles. McChristian was there attending a birthday party for a friend when she was drawn into the scene of two servers focused on getting ready to close for the night. In CLOSING THE TAB, the painting that resulted, McChristian captures the ethereal glow of the cool blue light from a computer screen on one waiter’s face. “The dramatic, high-contrast lighting created a chiaroscuro effect, which added tension, drama, and mystery to this scene,” she says. “While they are both intent on separate activities, it almost feels like a stage set for two Shakespearean actors who are about to launch into a fierce dialogue.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download
Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook