Show Preview | Western Art Show

Tucson, AZ
Mountain Oyster Club, November 19

Janet Broussard, Rider in the Sky, oil, 22 x 32.

Janet Broussard, Rider in the Sky, oil, 22 x 32.

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Decades ago, a group of six men working in the livestock industry founded the Mountain Oyster Club as a way to foster a community of cowboys, ranchers, and horse racers in Tucson, AZ. Today, the club celebrates its heritage with its 48th annual Western Art Show, which opens on Sunday, November 19, and includes approximately 400 paintings and sculptures. The show kicks off with an invitation-only preview event for artists and patrons on Saturday evening. On Sunday, the club hosts a ticketed sale with purchasers’ names drawn at 5:30 p.m.

True to its cowboy heritage, the show has always focused largely on traditional western imagery, says Karen Young, the club’s art committee chairperson. Subject matter includes animals, cowboys, ranch scenes, and Native Americans. But the show has grown over the years. “We’ve expanded to include more contemporary work and have featured many more landscapes and portraits than before,” Young says. Both established and emerging artists from the United States and Canada entered more than 1,600 pieces to be juried into the show. “We are proud to have showcased both artists of national renown and emerging artists,” Young says. “It’s the perfect show for the first-time buyer and the serious western art collector alike because there is so much variety and the pieces are the highest quality.”

Young says the committee keeps an eye on the art scene for emerging artists they invite to participate alongside a core of 85 honorary artist members. Each year, a participating artist is inducted into the club as an honorary artist. This year it’s sculptor Ken Rowe, who often sculpts his wildlife pieces from live models. This is Rowe’s ninth year at the show. “What the club shows isn’t just good work, but it’s also important work in the sense that the event is keeping the genre of western art alive and thriving,” he says. The show is also a good barometer of art-collecting trends. “You always have buyers looking for traditional work, but you also see them becoming more interested in the edgier work as well.” Other participating artists include William Haskell, Lawrence Lee, A.R. Mergelman, Tom Murray, Janet Broussard, and Elsa Sroka.

Young says the show continues to grow due to its quality work and its relaxed atmosphere. “Once an artist participates, they get to see how excited collectors are about interacting with the work and obtaining pieces they haven’t seen elsewhere, which are moderately priced,” she says. But it is more than just an art show. “This event is a major cultural encounter with the West,” Young says. The club itself boasts a wide array of western art and artifacts in its permanent collection, and it is also nestled in the heart of an art town. “Coming to Tucson is more than just coming to buy art,” she says. “You are immersed in all the western ways of life that still exist today.” The show remains on display, with unsold artworks still up for sale, through January. —Mackenzie McCreary

contact information
520.882.0711
www.mountainoysterclub.com

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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