Evergreen Fine Art, June 24-25
This story was featured in the June 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
The month of June ushers in summer sun, warm days, and the annual Weekend in the West show at Evergreen Fine Art—a popular celebration of art set amid the stunning Rocky Mountains. This year’s events bring together 52 top painters and sculptors. The weekend kicks off with a western-style gala reception at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 24. In the spirit of the occasion, collectors and artists don cowboy hats and boots while perusing artworks by Jeff Legg, Jeremy Browne, Edward Aldrich, and Ron Hicks, among many others. “There is a nice combination of the old West and the new West,” says Doug Kacena, gallery director.
Indeed, artworks range in subject matter and style from classic still lifes to abstracted nocturnal landscapes. For western art lovers, there are also works spotlighting the ranching life, including scenes depicting feisty bison kicking up dust, contented cows grazing in green pastures, weathered barns nestled in the countryside, and craggy mountaintops blanketed in snow.
The Quick Draw, one of the weekend’s highlights, happens on Saturday, June 25, at 9 a.m. sharp. Artists stake out a spot in the gallery’s sculpture garden for a competitive showdown. Each painter or sculptor has 90 minutes to complete an original work. Viewers stroll from easel to easel watching the various works take shape. When a bell rings at 10:30 a.m., brushes go down and champagne flutes go up. Everyone then gathers under an enormous tent to enjoy a buffet brunch and settle in for a lively auction of the Quick Draw artworks.
Figurative artist Ed Kucera returns to the show for the fourth year in a row. Kucera says he keeps coming back because “the atmosphere is infectiously festive.” This year he displays an evocative painting titled BRAWN, a portrait of Casey Bird in Ground, a member of Montana’s Crow Nation. “I chose the title because of Casey Bird in Ground’s strong build, and because he has an air of confidence—a quiet calm that makes you respect and admire him,” Kucera says.
For Karen Roehl, one of the event’s attractions is the opportunity to interact with the other participating artists and exchange creative ideas. Roehl’s painting COMIN AND GOIN offers a contemporary take on the West. A herd of longhorns lumber across the picture plane. One of the hefty animals sports a bird on its back, and the contrast in size provides a humorous element. “I liked the idea of the visual contrast of tiny versus large, which led me to the conceptual idea of contrasting a bird, intuitively moving one way, while the cattle, directed by a cowhand, move in another direction,” Roehl says.
The Saturday-morning brunch and auction is a ticketed event and costs $35 per person. A patron’s ticket package is also available and includes the brunch as well as a dinner with participating artists on Thursday, June 23. For collectors who are not able to attend the opening-weekend celebration, the show remains on view at the gallery through July 16. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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