Santa Fe, NM, June 22-July 12
Throughout the world, classic western images appeal to adventurous souls. It is uniquely American and evokes the nostalgia of wide-open spaces, rich ethnic histories, and the mix of cultures forging new ways of living in an awesome but forbidding landscape. The West is history, romance, and legend. This month Manitou Galleries on Canyon Road presents its Western Images group show, featuring six fine artists who focus on this genre: Gregg Albracht, Gail Gash Taylor, Marlin Rotach, Billy Schenck, William Suys, and Don Weller. The show opens with an artists’ reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 22.
Gregg Albracht is passionate about capturing rare, perfect moments with his camera. He’d rather be “in a field full of horses than a room full of people,” and the results of time spent that way are rich, graphic, black-and-white or sepia-tone images highlighting the regal nature of the genus Equus caballus.
Drawn to contemporary realism, Gail Gash Taylor depicts animals and western scenery. A palomino, a paint, and several bays are the subject of a dramatic 3-foot-by-9-foot triptych that she has painted for this show. Each horse is a striking individual, yet the group as a whole reveals the artist’s deep awareness of the power of pattern and abstraction.
Since the mid-1990s, Marlin Rotach has worked almost exclusively in watercolors. He has always been inspired by artists who are able to create “dramatic impact in their works through their profound understanding of light.” His own skill at rendering light and shadow is on view in images from longhorns to florals and everything in between. As he says, “Light gives life.”
Known internationally as one of the originators of the contemporary Pop western movement, Billy Schenck blends elements of photo-realism with iconic Pop Art images in paintings that reflect his unique individualism. Hot colors, surreal juxtapositions, humor, and stylized patterns are among his signature techniques, and the western scene is his favorite territory.
William Suys believes that each work of art “takes on a life and spirit of its own.” His joy as an artist is to create work that “possesses its own artistic heart and soul.” His goal is achieved in his beautifully rendered figurative, still-life, animal, and landscape subject matter
Two passions—horses and art—drive watercolorist Don Weller. He paints classic scenes of ranch life and rodeos set under an endless sky, and the appeal of the Old West comes roaring back in images of contemporary cowboys and cowgirls amid the washed landscape of the desert Southwest.
Art in the West has evolved to include images that echo the past, incorporate the present, and reassure us of its historic continuum. John Bygott, manager of Manitou Galleries on Canyon Road, invites viewers to stop by and experience that location’s distinctive western focus: “Western Images opens our 2012 season. Our artists combine nostalgia for the Old West with finely tuned examples of contemporary life presented in a diverse range of styles and mediums. We believe you’ll find each of our artists to be a genuine, shining example of the highly crafted art to be found in the Southwest.” —Rosemary Carstens
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