Oklahoma City, OK
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, June 13-August 3
This story was featured in the June 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For artwork to be admitted into the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale, it may not be enough that it was created by one of the finest contemporary western artists in the country, or that the artist was invited to take part in the show. On top of that, each piece submitted must pass muster from a highly discriminating screening committee. As a result, every painting and sculpture on view this month at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is nothing less than “the best of the best,” in the words of longtime Prix de West participant Jim Wilcox. The 41st annual Prix de West opens June 13 and remains on display through August 3.
Wilcox, a Jackson, WY-based landscape painter who turns 73 in June, has been part of the prestigious show for 32 years. His contributions this year include landscapes of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park and red- orange sandstone canyons at Lake Powell. The new paintings continue in the artist’s award-winning representational style, which he describes with a smile as “better than it used to be and not as good as I hope it will be someday.” In the figurative genre, Wyoming-based painter Carrie Ballantyne, in her 15th Prix de West appearance, has created engaging portraits of individuals whose lives and manner of dress merge elements of the old and new West. “I glean my inspiration from real people—meeting them and seeing something in them,” she says.
Wilcox and Ballantyne are among more than 100 painters and sculptors presenting 300-plus artworks in this year’s show, with a full lineup of opening-weekend activities set for June 13 and 14. Artists Logan Maxwell Hagege, T.D. Kelsey, T. Allen Lawson, and Susan Lyon are new to the show this year. As always, genres and styles range from historical imagery reflecting the West’s early days to more contemporary and impressionistic approaches in landscape, wildlife, narrative, and figurative art, notes Susan Patterson, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s manager of contemporary western art shows and sales.
Along with exceptional art, the weekend offers lively art-related seminars and panel discussions, this year touching on such topics as Wild Western Weather in Art; Donald Teague, His Life in Color; and Contemporary Interpretations of the National Parks. Artist and author book signings take place Friday at noon, with art demonstrations set for Saturday after lunch. Other highlights include a preview and reception on Friday evening and the much-anticipated announcement of this year’s Prix de West Purchase Award winner on Saturday at noon. During the awards banquet, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a special live auction features works by 12 of the participating artists, including Daniel Gerhartz, John Coleman, Jeremy Lipking, Curt Walters, and Sonya Terpening.
Beyond the draw of the art itself, artists and collectors alike point to the warm, welcoming Oklahoma hospitality and a feeling of joyful reunion that infuses the annual show as some of the best things about the event. As Patterson puts it, “Opening weekend is filled with anticipation and excitement as artists and collectors meet up like long-lost family.” —Gussie Fauntleroy
Featured in the June 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art June 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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