Show Preview | Cowboy Crossings

Oklahoma City, OK
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, October 10-11

Tom Browning, Brasada, oil, 30 x 40.

Tom Browning, Brasada, oil, 30 x 40.

This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

The Cowboy Artists of America and the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association create a dynamic duo when they meet for the Cowboy Crossings show and sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum this month. About 35 members of the organizations will present nearly 150 pieces of all-new fine and functional art celebrating the West.

Always an exciting event, this year’s weekend agenda promises more opportunities than ever for art lovers to interact with the artists. On Friday, October 10, bid-book holders may join in a tour of Oklahoma City with the creatives. The evening’s cocktail reception, from 6 to 8 p.m., brings a private preview of the show. Saturday’s activities include an intent-to-purchase sale, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., during which collectors may submit their offers to buy at fixed prices. This occasion segues into the banquet and concert, which, for the first time, are held on the museum’s plaza. That lively, outdoor atmosphere also sets the backdrop for the show’s awards, which are presented at the banquet. Although the sale weekend introduces the show with a flourish, the exhibition remains on display—and the opportunity to buy extends—until January 4, 2015.

Of course, cowboy culture is at the heart of the show, whether it is depicted through scenes painted and sculpted by CAA members or finely tooled leatherwork created by TCAA members. “The two organizations really complement each other. To have the visual art and the functional art, both representing the western way of life—it’s a pretty special deal,” says TCAA President Ernie Marsh, a bit and spur maker from Thayne, WY.

What’s old is new again in the TCAA. Members use time-honored trades, such as leatherworking and silversmithing, to elevate saddles, bits and spurs, bridles, and other practical tack in the life of the working cowboy to masterworks.

Jason Rich, Red Rock Remuda, oil, 40 x 60.

Jason Rich, Red Rock Remuda, oil, 40 x 60.

CAA members portray the western lifestyle through paintings, drawings, and sculpture. Customarily all of the 21 members participate in the show. Viewers won’t see still-life paintings or pure landscapes here—those subjects are not the purview of the CAA. Attendees can expect to see WALL STREET FROM A SADDLE SEAT, a life-size bronze of a cowboy on horseback by Bruce Greene, who has won multiple awards in previous years, and RED ROCK REMUDA, a large-scale painting of two cowboys with a cattle herd against paprika-colored cliffs by Jason Rich, last year’s silver-award winner in the oil category. Paul Moore, whose works appear in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and who won last year’s best-of-show prize with the emotional sculpture OFFERING TO THE SUN, will also be on hand with new work.

CAA President and oil painter Martin Grelle, of Clifton, TX, says many of the members are working toward a more abstracted perspective in their creations for the 2014 show. This year marks the 49th year the CAA will have held such a sale, and the fourth time it coincides with the TCAA’s event. Grelle observes, “It really is unique. There’s nothing else like it.” 
—Ashley M. Biggers

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Featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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