Show Preview | Walling & Unger

Albuquerque, NM
Purple Sage Gallery, September 4-26

Stephen Unger, Desert Monsoon, acrylic, 16 x 20.

Stephen Unger, Desert Monsoon, acrylic, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the September 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

The Southwestern landscape offers endless possibilities for subject matter for an artist—exotic cactus varieties, sandstone bluffs, ancient Indian ruins, monumental red rocks, and endless blue skies. This month Purple Sage Gallery presents a show that spotlights many of the region’s quintessential natural and man-made wonders. The show features works by New Mexico artists KK Walling and Stephen Unger. Opening with a reception on Friday, September 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., it includes about 40 new works by the two artists.

Although the main focus of the presentation is on the Southwest, Walling’s oeuvre also includes several paintings depicting scenes from her travels to the Bahamas and Vermont. VERMONT GREENS, for example, was inspired by a paint-out held in conjunction with the 2014 Oil Painters of America exhibition held in Bennington, VT. “I am from the desert, and just seeing all the greens attracted me to this scene,” she says. “I wanted to also capture the restful feeling of the Vermont countryside.”

Both Walling and Unger have a spontaneous approach to their work. Walling tells the story of another landscape in the show. Recently she was painting east of Santa Fe when suddenly a storm blew in. She raced to her car with her wet painting in tow, but she didn’t quite make it. The rain came down so hard that it pushed the paint around on her canvas. “I decided to just leave it and titled the painting PECOS STORM,” Walling says.

Similarly, Unger says he was recently driving through southern New Mexico on his way to deliver paintings to the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, TX, when he spotted thunderheads overhead. He immediately pulled over to the side of the road and began to paint the scene. He finished the work mostly on location and titled the painting DESERT MONSOON. A self-described “contemporary realist,” Unger conveys his long-standing passion for the outdoors in his work. “I try to capture the light, shadow, color, or mood that draws me to a subject and communicate that feeling to the viewer,” he says. “A boldness of brush strokes and the variety in paint texture add interest and feeling to my work.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

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Featured in the September 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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