Astoria Fine Art, July 3-6
This story was featured in the July 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For the past five years, Colorado sculptor Joshua Tobey has been the featured artist at Astoria Fine Art’s Fourth of July Spectacular art show. Last year, gallery owner Greg Fulton invited Mark Eberhard to show his wildlife paintings alongside Tobey’s sculptures. The pairing was so successful, the gallery presents the two together again this year. “Mark’s paintings, which also focus on animals, perfectly complement Joshua’s animal sculptures,” Fulton says. Tobey and Eberhard are at the gallery from 1 to 4 p.m. on July 3, 4, and 5. The two-man show closes on July 6.
Nearly 70 pieces by Tobey are on display during the show, including 11 new pieces, seven of which have never before been seen in their finished forms. Among these are works featuring animals new to Tobey’s oeuvre, including a sculpture of a mule deer and another depicting a trio of howling coyotes. Of the latter piece, entitled THE THREE AMIGOS, Tobey says, “This is one of my favorite works from this year. It’s about friendship and camaraderie.” The idea for THE THREE AMIGOS developed as Tobey was sculpting a different composition of coyotes for the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival in September. Tobey has been selected as the featured sculptor for the festival. It’s the first time a sculptor has been chosen in the 30-year history of the event.
RAIN DANCE, another Tobey piece new at the Astoria show, depicts a mule deer buck kicking up its hind end in what appears to be simple joy. “Most sculptors overlook mule deer,” Tobey says. His inspiration came one afternoon during the first rainstorm after a prolonged drought, when mule deer came bounding into the meadow near his home as he stood watching. “For a rare and perfect few minutes,” he says, “I watched both rain and wildlife, and I wondered, is it the dance that makes the rain, or is it the rain that makes us dance?” Tobey also continues developing new patinas for each of his works. “I try to create a patina for each piece that is descriptive of my concept and of the animal,” he says.
Most of the animals in Eberhard’s paintings are birds, with many of them native to his Cincinnati-area home. Focusing on their personalities is key to his work. His 15 paintings in the show include LONG-EARED OWL and CATTAIL FIVE, which features a quintet of yellow-headed blackbirds. In his paintings, animals are placed in their natural habitats, and Eberhard spends considerable time researching these habitats. “I also make sure the viewer can feel the time of year in each work,” he says.
For Astoria Fine Art’s show, Eberhard also introduces works of animals not typically associated with his Ohio home. Among these are a piece depicting elk at sunset with pine trees in the background, another of a red fox and snow hare, and a painting of a polar bear on ice. “This polar bear is only the second one I’ve ever painted,” he explains. “A big challenge for me was painting ice.” —Emily Van Cleve
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