Show Preview | Night of Artists

San Antonio, TX
Briscoe Western Art Museum, April 1-May 15

Cliff Cavin, Attitude, oil, 30 x 30.

Cliff Cavin, Attitude, oil, 30 x 30.

This story was featured in the March 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

This spring, the Briscoe Western Art Museum presents its 15th annual Night of Artists Art Sale and Exhibition in its elegant Jack Guenther Pavilion along the San Antonio River Walk, mere blocks from the hallowed site of the Alamo. This makes an altogether fitting venue for the works of 72 established contemporary artists, whose richly diverse pieces capture the energy, heritage, and mythic beauty of the West.

The opening weekend kicks off with an artists’ reception and preview on Friday, April 1. Saturday features an art sale, dinner, and awards event. Both evenings include cocktails, food, and purchase opportunities. “Nobody’s going to starve,” says Jessica Erin Elliott, the museum’s board chair. “You will leave satisfied in body and soul, artistically and culturally. It’s a good party, with local food and flair, and it fuels the spirit and mission of the museum.”

The show, which opens to the public on April 3 and runs through May 15, highlights nationally recognized painters and sculptors, each of whom was invited to contribute up to five pieces. Elliott is particularly pleased that the show embraces not only Texas artists—such as figurative impressionist Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, southwestern townscape painter Enrique Guerra, and Cowboy Artists of America member Martin Grelle, famed for his depictions of Native Americans and working cowboys—but also many coming from farther afield. These include French-born, Los Angeles-based Mark Maggiori, who brings a refreshing outsider’s perspective to his luminous western landscapes, and Bend, OR, painter Tom Browning, whose timeless canvases of the West are layered with atmosphere and light.

Kenny McKenna, La Bahia, oil, 22 x 28.

Kenny McKenna, La Bahia, oil, 22 x 28.

Not surprisingly, celebrating archetypal western themes as it does, Night of Artists pays due respect to the horse. For example, painter Kim Wiggins, who hails from southern New Mexico, presents, among other works, BLACK MESA, an oil depicting wild steeds racing through a vibrant landscape. “In my mind,” says Wiggins, “there are few things that capture the heart of our nation’s spirit like an image of an American mustang running wild and free—an amazing symbol of our vanishing West.”

In similar spirit, says Texas sculptor T.D. Kelsey, “My work is about the western way of life and about keeping the old ways intact.” This year, however, he’s giving the old ways a broader geographic reach. His bronze entitled MONGOL WRANG RUNNER, for instance, features a wild horse of the Asian steppes—“a bit of a stretch on the western theme,” he admits, “though Mongols, like cowboys, love their horses.” Kelsey’s impressionistic sculptures capture the muscular energy of his subjects, which he knows intimately and thoroughly through a lifetime spent around the rodeo, ranching, and training cutting horses.

Add to such equine subjects the show’s wide range of landscapes, still lifes, figurative works, and other genres in a range of media, and the Night of Artists “aligns perfectly,” says Elliott, with the museum’s goals of not only preserving the culture, history, and art of the region but also “bringing the West back to San Antonio.” —Lynn Dubinsky

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Featured in the March 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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