Show Preview | Polzin & Peters

Jackson, WY
Legacy Gallery, July 5-29

Robert Peters, Jenny Lake, oil, 24 x 36.

Robert Peters, Jenny Lake, oil, 24 x 36.

This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Legacy Gallery is well known for its major one-person shows featuring marquee names from its distinguished stable of artists. On a more frequent basis, however, the gallery also hosts numerous smaller solo shows throughout the year. Each of these exhibitions, called an Artist Focus, spotlights about 10 new works by one of Legacy’s prominent artists over a 10-day period. This month, new still-life paintings by Kyle Polzin hang from Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 15, at the gallery’s Jackson, WY, location. Then, for 10 days beginning on Thursday, July 19, western landscape paintings by Robert Peters take the limelight.

While only about half the size of Legacy’s major one-person shows, the Artist Focus presents an equally impressive showcase of talent with plenty of thematic diversity, notes gallery owner Brad Richardson. “When you have to put 10 paintings in a show, it forces you to explore,” he explains. “The artists need to make sure their works don’t all look the same. It makes them stretch, so it’s a very good, healthy thing.”

Staged under dramatic chiaroscuro lighting, the antiquated objects in Polzin’s classical realist oil paintings often poke out from the shadowy depths, offering viewers an illuminated glimpse of their weathered textures and patinas. While the Austin, TX, artist routinely explores Native American and cowboy themes in his still-life arrangements, his creative purview is by no means limited to the western genre. Indeed, Polzin displays his enthusiasm for a variety of “Americana” subject matter in his latest body of work, from rustic florals to evocative sporting narratives featuring items from his personal collection of artifacts.

One large tableau, for example, features sheep-hunting gear redolent of the 1930s, including an old Winchester rifle and canteen stationed alongside a wood-framed canvas backpack. Strapped to the tattered pack is the skull of a mighty bighorn sheep. “I’m not a sheep hunter myself, but it’s fun to research and learn about the subjects I paint, which is a large part of what I do,” says the meticulous painter. “That’s what keeps it fresh for me. I’m not just painting the same thing over and over again.”

Over the course of his nearly 40-year career, Peters has found an unfailing source of inspiration in the American West. The Prescott, AZ, artist explores a variety of western landscapes in his latest collection of oil paintings, from southwestern destinations like Monument Valley and the Sonoran Desert to some of his favorite spots in Montana and Wyoming, including Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. “I always depict scenes that I’ve seen and experienced,” says the former illustrator. “That’s the most important part of my work, to have those experiences as a landscape painter, because I’m using paint to convey the emotions I feel when I’m there.” On location, the artist stores up “mental impressions” of his surroundings while jotting down notations, sketching thumbnails, and snapping photographs. All of these resources are vital references when he returns to his studio to complete his paintings, but ultimately, adds Peters, “You need your own personal vision. That’s what you’re bringing as an artist.”

Polzin’s works are sold by draw and possibly also in a sealed-bid auction. Peters’ works are sold first come, first served. All works remain on view throughout the duration of each show. —Kim Agricola

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This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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