Evergreen Fine Art, March 7-28
This story was featured in the March 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Longtime admirers of Rodgers Naylor’s oils will have no trouble recognizing his distinctive work when they gather on Saturday, March 7, between 2 and 5 p.m. for the opening reception of his latest one-man show at Evergreen Fine Art. The veteran 60-year-old artist possesses an inimitable style that, at first glance, portrays impeccably realistic scenes of ordinary life in the present-day Rocky Mountain West. Yet, Naylor also gives these images a soft-edged finish that provides an almost dreamlike quality, sometimes leading the uninitiated to think that he’s created them not with paint but with sticks of pastel. “That’s something I consciously work on,” says Naylor. “I want to give equal emphasis to almost everything in the composition. And then, very selectively, I’ll use some crisper edges to lead the eye where I want the viewer to go.”
Despite the distinctive personal look of the 30 or so paintings in the show, titled A Western Life, Naylor anticipates that viewers familiar with his work may discover they are being taken to new places. “This past year,” he explains, “I started going to rodeos. I discovered that I love to paint all the drama and action and tension. Those are things that not very many people have seen me do, but it’s great subject matter.” Indeed, his piece titled A CRUCIAL MOMENT evokes just such a quality, compellingly depicting the very instant at which a bronco rider may, or may not, have gained control of his bucking mount.
Likewise, those who prize the radiance of the daytime subjects he has long favored, such as SUNDAY MORNING, might be surprised to discover that recently he has also been exploring the fading light of evening, or even nighttime skies lit by the stars or moon. “I’ve started doing that because I wanted to challenge myself with a different kind of light,” he says. Richly atmospheric works like EVENING IN LA MESILLA convincingly demonstrate that Naylor is more than up to the challenge.
“Rodgers’ compositions are incredibly strong,” observes Doug Kacena, Evergreen Fine Art’s director of exhibitions. Within the broad scope defined by the show’s title, adds Kacena, “he hits all points, from pure landscape to human interactions with environments to little cameos of individual western objects like a hat.” Kacena anticipates that, at the opening, the artist will recap some of his latest explorations during a brief talk, followed by a question-and-answer session. —Norman Kolpas
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