Show Preview | Coors Western Art Show

Denver, CO
National Western Stock Show Complex, January 3-21

Don Coen, Gossip Around the Water Cooler, oil stick, 77 x 113.

Don Coen, Gossip Around the Water Cooler, oil stick, 77 x 113.

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

When January arrives, seasoned art lovers know it’s time for the annual Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale. Despite opening during one of Colorado’s coldest months, the show conjures warm feelings among enthusiastic regulars. This year the event celebrates its 25th anniversary, kicking off the new year with the traditional Red Carpet Gala Reception from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, at the National Western Stock Show Complex. Sixty contemporary, representational artists, hailing from North America and Europe, share their visions of the western way of life in paintings, sculpture, and more.

Rose Fredrick, who has curated the show for 21 years, says the event has undergone an amazing transformation since its early days. In the beginning, she says, there were a mere 100 collectors who attended the opening. Today, nearly 1,000 art enthusiasts pack the gala, and last year an additional 30,000 people viewed the show when it opened to the public as part of the National Western Stock Show. “One of the things I’m most proud of is seeing artists who got their start at the Coors show who are now making it big in the art world,” Fredrick adds.

This year’s stellar lineup includes returning artists Len Chmiel, David Grossmann, Stephanie Hartshorn, Quang Ho, and William Matthews. They join newcomers Douglas Andelin, Rudolph (Rudy) DeRam, Anne-Marie Kornachuk, Joseph McGurl, Brad Overton, Joe Paquet, and Kate Starling.

Dan Young, a 16-year show veteran, is the 2018 featured artist. Young says the yearly event is special for him because it offers the opportunity to showcase his best work with the freedom to push boundaries in interpreting the West. Young’s THE SUPER MOON ON THE COLORADO is the exhibit’s signature work and poster image this year. The atmospheric landscape is reminiscent of Frederic Church’s lush, light-infused works from the 19th century. Like Church (1826-1900), Young is a master at creating a sense of place and capturing a dramatic natural phenomenon. Growing up in Colorado, Young spent a lot of time outdoors, hence his interest in the state’s terrain. “I am also a guy who likes to chase the moon,” he says.

Participating artist Amy Laugesen describes herself as someone who “never grew out of playing in the mud.” In her ceramic sculpture PALOUSE RIVER HORSES, on view in the show, Laugesen casts a creative eye on her longtime muse, the horse. “The piece is inspired by the history of the spotted horses native to the Palouse River valley as well as the Nez Perce tribe who bonded with these horses and established what we know today as the Appaloosa,” Laugesen says. The Colorado sculptor sees the trusty steed as not only a magnificent creature but an important contributor to the history of civilization. “This process of discovering the essence of a horse within the ‘mud’ and transforming this into contemporary ceramic artworks remains my great joy and artistic passion,” she says.

Taking place in conjunction with the Coors show is the 12th annual Petrie Institute of Western American Art symposium entitled Beyond America’s Heartland: Regionalism and the Art of the American West. The symposium takes place on Thursday, January 4, at the Denver Art Museum. —Bonnie Gangelhoff

contact information
303.291.2567
www.coorswesternart.com

This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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