Desert Caballeros Western Museum, March 22-May 5
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Subtitled “Art From the Other Half of the West,” the Cowgirl Up show and sale, presented by the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, captures the spirit and the lifestyle of the West from the perspective of some of the best female western artists in the country. This year more than 50 artists present nearly 200 new works in oil, bronze, acrylic, charcoal, watercolor, and more. On March 22, the museum kicks off the eighth annual show with a gala weekend of events that includes an exhibition preview and an artists’ and patrons’ party on Friday, March 22; an opening-night “Bash & Bid” sale and artists’ awards dinner on Saturday, March 23; and a Quick Draw and live auction on Sunday, March 24. Here we introduce just a few of this year’s participating artists.
After traveling and studying in Italy and teaching in Australia, painter Sally Delap-John now finds herself, and her inspiration, in a northern New Mexico mountain village. She paints the local landscape and architecture in whimsical color en plein air. Joella Jean Mahoney says she started creating art when she was too young to express in words the powerful connection she felt with nature, and it was through art that she found a voice. Today the artist lives and paints in central Arizona, capturing the Colorado Plateau in oil on canvases as large as 4 by 10 feet.
Fourth-generation Texan Sharon Markwardt says she has always created art, but a major shift in her work occurred after being thrown from a horse and injured while riding alone in 2006. Finding the courage and boldness to climb back on and ride home brought a new perspective to the artist that, today, infuses her work with bold color and dramatic perspectives. Having spent her childhood accompanying her paleontologist father as he prospected in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, oil painter K.L. McKenna developed a deep connection with the land and skies of the West. Today, splitting her time between New York and Colorado, she paints the West in contemporary images of intense, energized color.
Gallery owner and artist Barbara Meikle has come full circle to paint the northern New Mexico animals and landscapes she grew up with as a child. After studying abroad and running galleries in the East, Meikle returned to New Mexico in 1990 to pursue her dream of being an artist. Her flashy, high-color paintings and sculptures of burros, horses, and the Southwestern landscape are her trademark. Indelibly influenced by both the French and Russian Impressionists and the plein-air artists’ movement in California, Darcie Peet travels into the backcountry to capture impressionistic renderings of the Rocky Mountain highlands, Arizona’s Sonoran desert and canyonlands, the fjords of Alaska, and the California wine country.
Dawn Swepston’s bold, iconic images of the West—including cowboy-booted legs beneath hiked-up western skirts and barbed-wire juxtaposed on vast southwestern landscapes—derive from the human tendency to anthropomorphize inanimate objects and to see the world through the filter of their own human-centric psyches. Eva van Rijn fell in love with the West when she was a child, filling notebooks with drawings of horses. For years she had a ranch in Colorado on which she spent much of her time repairing fences that elk had pulled down. Today, free of the time constraints of ranching life, the painter depicts the animals and landscapes of the West, including the horses that continue to inspire her.
Jeannine Young produces bronze sculptures by welding an original maquette in steel, then using the lost-wax process to create bronze editions. Her feminine and western forms are simplified with featureless faces to encourage viewers to interpret the forms from their own experiences. Star Liana York lives on a ranch in New Mexico surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including horses, dogs, and goats, from which she derives much inspiration for her animal and western bronze sculptures. —Laura Rintala
Featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art March 2013 digital download
Southwest Art March 2013 print issue
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