Show Preview | A Western View

Santa Fe, NM
Gerald Peters Gallery, July 31-September 26

John Encinias, Arrival of Spring, oil, 11 x 14.

John Encinias, Arrival of Spring, oil, 11 x 14.

This story was featured in the August 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

During the summer of 2014, 
Gerald Peters Gallery expanded into a second building, located just across the parking lot from its original location. Now, the gallery is defining this historic adobe as the home of its western realism collection with a show entitled A Western View, which opens with an artists’ reception on Friday, July 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. and is devoted to the western genre.

Drawing from its stable of represented artists, the show features the work of Arturo Chávez, John Encinias, 
Elizabeth Wadleigh Leary, Walter 
Matia, and Steve Kestrel. “I wanted to introduce our new space with some of our very best artists. This smaller, more intimate environment lends itself to this work,” says Maria Hajic, the gallery’s director of naturalism. Hajic anticipates up to five new works from each artist, with the show totaling two dozen pieces.

While the show is unified in its western subject matter—from landscapes to wildlife—Hajic introduces variety through the respective artists’ styles. Leary’s tight, classical lines stand out against the looser brushwork of 
Encinias, she says. Among the sculptors, Matia’s finesse with detail contrasts with the stylization in Kestrel’s work.

Steve Kestrel, Dream of Little Dipper/Big Fish, bronze, 22 x 5 x 19.

Steve Kestrel, Dream of Little Dipper/Big Fish, bronze, 22 x 5 x 19.

Kestrel presents tabletop bronzes consistent with those he’s been creating for a decade. Inspired by the wildlife near his Colorado home, the artist created DREAM OF LITTLE DIPPER/BIG FISH, depicting a bear cub holding a fish whose tail extends onto the sculpture’s base. “You see these higher vertebrates and wonder what they’re dreaming about,” Kestrel says. “I imagine this is what bears and bear cubs are dreaming about. This is the second bear I’ve done and the third [animal] I’ve done with that dream idea. The piece is playing with layers of consciousness and our perceptions of what’s real.”

New Mexico-based Chávez presents classically rendered landscapes. Although he’s known for working on an epic scale, with pieces up to 14 feet long, his paintings in this show are of a smaller, more accessible size. JACONA captures mesas between Española and Taos as the sun is setting. “I’m enamored with rocks. I look for dynamic composition, the way the rock juts out in space and has range between light and dark. I fell in love with the way the light was dancing across the mesas here, with the foreground in shadow,” the artist says. “The thrust of my painting is to put three-dimensional space 
on a two-dimensional plane, so you can see 19 miles in a few feet of space.”

Chávez’s talent drew the attention of producers of a PBS documentary series about artists depicting national 
parks. Chávez recently completed filming on the edge of Grand Canyon National Park for the production. But viewers needn’t wait for the documentary to air next year to take in the glory of the West. It’s on view this month in the works of all five talented artists. 
—Ashley M. Biggers

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Featured in the August 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art August 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!