Show Preview | Duke Beardsley

Jackson, WY
Altamira Fine Art, September 4-23

Duke Beardsley, Monitor, oil, 60 x 72.

Duke Beardsley, Monitor, oil, 60 x 72.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Duke Beardsley has long been known for his graphic cowboy paintings. A sixth-generation Coloradan, he grew up in the Denver area, but his family had a ranch an hour out of town. “I did all the things a Denver kid would do, but I also spent time on the family ranch,” he says. On Monday, September 4, Altamira Fine Art unveils around a dozen of Beardsley’s newest pieces continuing his working cowboy and cowgirl theme and his repeated-motif “lineups.” A reception for the artist is on Friday, September 8, from 5 to 8 p.m.

For this show Beardsley has returned to collage work melding the Old West with the contemporary. He pulls pages from old pulp-fiction Westerns, such as those by Zane Grey, Luke Short, and Louis L’Amour, as well as the pages of True West and New West magazines: “Those are stories about things that actually happened back in the old days, and then I paint my West—friends of mine, people I know riding horses—over the top,” Beardsley explains. “This isn’t Charlie Russell’s West. I live in a much faster, much more eclectic West.”

But the work that really has the artist fired up are the hundreds of 3-by-5-inch miniatures, which, when put together in a grid, create a new version of his signature lineups. Earlier this year, Beardsley saw abstract artist Mark Bradford’s exhibit at the Venice Biennale and was inspired. “Something  he’s doing impacted me and encouraged me to do something different,” he says. “I’m maniacally painting these little tiles.”

Beardsley paints each tile with one of his signature riders. “These little guys are cool by themselves,” he says, “and affordable. But you can put a bunch together and create a big canvas.” The tiles have different background colors and allow the artist to create a larger color experience when hung together. As this issue was going to press he was in the midst of a piece combining 240 of these 3-by-5-inch original paintings. “You lay them out and start working in a rhythm. It takes a long time, but they really resonate with me,” he says. For someone who is used to working on a large scale (often well over 6 feet), these miniature works are a challenge, “but they also work in accordance with my attention span,” he says, chuckling. “I can have 50 going at once.” —Laura Rintala

contact information
307.739.4700
www.altamiraart.com

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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