Show Preview | John Taft

Vail, CO
Vail International Gallery, July 7-24

John Taft, Meandering, oil, 26 x 36.

John Taft, Meandering, oil, 26 x 36.

This story was featured in the July 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  July 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Landscape painter John Taft uses three phrases to describe his work: quiet majesty, dynamic repose, and hidden beauty. The artist strives to bring out each of these themes in his subtle western landscapes. Taft presents his newest work in his fourth solo show at Vail International Gallery this month. The exhibition opens on Friday, July 7, with an artist’s reception from 4 to 6 p.m.

During his early career as a designer in the TV industry, Taft didn’t think much about fine art, although he did love the outdoors. While splitting his time between California and New York, Taft and his wife drove across the country many times, fueling Taft’s interest in the ever-changing landscape. He soon joined an art discussion group in New York that opened his eyes to the possibilities of painting and eventually led to Taft’s full-time art career.

The couple soon settled in Colorado, where the artist finds a never-ending trove of inspiration. “The landscape is largely untouched, with beautiful variety and grandeur, and it has so much to offer for a landscape painter,” he says. As he continues to hone his skills, Taft says his overarching goal is “to create works of lasting beauty and significance that bless the lives of others in some small way.” Working mainly in his studio, the artist describes himself as a contemporary realist, painting with traditional techniques and subject matter but with a modern flair.

Marc Levarn, co-owner of the gallery, says he was drawn to Taft’s work because of his visual interpretation of Colorado. “He’s able to present that landscape in a way that’s in tune with the times,” Levarn says. “His canvases feel like they were painted now and not centuries ago, even though they don’t show things that are overtly modern.” Levarn adds that Taft’s work has evolved throughout his years with the gallery. “These new paintings have a really beautiful sense of space and color balance,” he says.

One painting in particular shows Taft’s three guiding themes. While driving back to Colorado one summer, he watched as a storm passed through, and once it cleared Taft was struck by the effects it had on the landscape. The moment became the painting titled AFTER THE RAIN. “That was fascinating to me because it’s not a traditional scenic piece,” he says. “There were a lot of muted greens, and it had a beautiful, sublime quality all its own.”

Several of the works included in the show feature the mountain wilderness, including many from Rocky Mountain National Park and the Gore Range. “When I first settled here, I felt like I was going from being a tourist to a resident,” Taft says. “After 12 years, I feel like I know and understand the landscape better now, and it speaks differently to me in a way that is more familiar.” —Mackenzie McCreary

contact information
970.476.2525
www.vailgallery.com

This story was featured in the July 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  July 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT