Show Preview | B.C. Nowlin & Jim Eppler

Santa Fe, NM
Manitou Galleries, August 4-18

B.C. Nowlin, Two Stars, oil, 48 x 60.

B.C. Nowlin, Two Stars, oil, 48 x 60.

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

Manitou Galleries brings together the art of painter B.C. Nowlin and sculptor Jim Eppler this month in a two-man show at its West Palace Avenue location. In this combined collection of more than 40 pieces—on view beginning Friday, August 4, with an artists’ reception at 5 p.m.—Nowlin puts a fresh spin on his favorite themes, and Eppler introduces a new feathered friend to his menagerie of lifelike animal sculptures.

Nowlin’s desire to make every painting what he calls a “page-turner” is a driving force behind his expressionistic imagery, all of which he conjures from his imagination. In his latest group of primarily large-scale oils, the artist introduces new renditions of his mystical tribal scenes along with depictions of highways and drive-ins in contemporary America. Throughout these paintings, Nowlin applied his paint more freely, he says: “I wanted things to swim, shift, and be more elusive. I wanted to infuse these images with more mystery, more poetry.”

As he works at his easel, even the artist himself doesn’t know what stories are unfolding on his canvas. “They feel like illustrations in a book I’ve never read,” says Nowlin. The New Mexico native grew up among Hispanic and Native American cultures, and today he maintains close ties with the Lakota-Sioux nation. His sensitive, multicultural perspective materializes routinely in his figurative works, in which he portrays culturally ambiguous people who represent a kind of world tribe to which we all belong. Often, these brightly clad figures are riding on horseback toward a brilliant, fiery light. “Maybe it’s my perfect world,” Nowlin muses, evoking the light-dappled scene in PERFECTION. “Maybe, in my perfect world, we’d all be traveling through the forest in colorful cloaks.”

Eppler shares as many as two dozen wildlife sculptures that range from several inches tall to life-size. Among the all-bronze assembly are portrayals of wolves, antelope, and other animals from the western United States, as well as new representations of his popular ravens. All of the pieces display Eppler’s knack for capturing animals’ distinctive attributes. As gallery marketing coordinator Matt Mullins puts it, “Jim’s ravens are so animated that they often confuse the real ravens that live near the gallery.”

“I love being in nature and observing wildlife—always have,” says Eppler, who recently added a sprightly, colorful roadrunner to his oeuvre. “My dad always wanted me to do a roadrunner,” he says. “I liked the idea, but I couldn’t get a good vision for how to handle the patina.” Rather serendipitously, the frisky birds began nesting on his land in Lubbock, TX, and Eppler observed them closely before working with his patineur to create a patina that authentically reflects the roadrunner’s coloring.

Also an accomplished portrait artist and musician, Eppler didn’t begin working with bronze until he was in his 40s. “To be able to combine my wildlife passion and my passion for art to create pieces in a medium I hadn’t dreamed about working in—it’s pretty special,” he says. —Kim Agricola

contact information
505.986.0440
www.manitougalleries.com

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

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT