Overland Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
This story was featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art February 2013 print edition, or download the Southwest Art February 2013 issue now…Or just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Craggy mountains, massive red rocks, and a lonesome cowboy riding across an expansive desert landscape. These elements often inhabit landscapes by Utah-based painter G. Russell Case. The award-winning artist has been compared to a modern-day Maynard Dixon in style and subject matter. And although Case cites Dixon as an influence, he also finds inspiration in works by early California Impressionists like Edgar Payne and living artists such as Len Chmiel, Dan Pinkham, and Clyde Aspevig.
This month Overland Gallery presents a show of about 20 new works by Case, with a reception taking place from 7 to 9 p.m. on February 21. “Collectors who know the area Russell paints frequently comment that his canvases not only capture the picturesque quality of the scene but also show a close familiarity between the artist and his subject,” says gallery director Trudy Hays.
Case was born and raised in Utah, growing up in a household filled with art. His father, watercolor artist Garry Case, headed up the illustration department for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and encouraged young Russell’s interest in art from an early age. Case initially thought he would become an art teacher. But when he graduated with a fine-arts degree from Utah State University, he told a professor about his plan to teach, and the professor said, “You are a painter. Go and paint.”
Case took the professor’s advice, and he has no regrets. Gallery representation came quickly for the budding young artist. Awards came, too, as did invitations to top shows across the West, such as the Autry National Center’s Masters of the American West, the Maynard Dixon Country show, and the Prix de West.
Today Case lives in northern Utah and regularly travels to southern Utah and northern Arizona to paint on location—plein-air painting is a key part of his creative process. It’s all about spontaneously capturing a moment in time, recording what he sees and feels. His inspiration originates from observing a landscape up close and personal. “I love the subtle nuances of what atmospheric conditions do to color and light,” he says.
As an artist he is attracted to simple, geometric shapes in arid desert landscapes where, since there is not a lot of vegetation, he can see crisp edges. “I like to convey what is in front of me that I am drawn to—the atmosphere and both the light and dark shapes,” Case says. “What I’m trying to convey in a lot of my work is the largeness of the landscape—I am blown away with the vastness of the desert. And I am always looking for a way to scale that for the viewer, so I sometimes use figures set against the desert or rocks to convey the idea of something really big.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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