Show Preview | Native Beauty

Santa Fe, NM
Ventana Fine Art, October 3-15

Mary Silverwood, White Sands National Monument #10, pastel, 19 x 25.

Mary Silverwood, White Sands National Monument #10, pastel, 19 x 25.

This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

This month Ventana Fine Art continues the long tradition of artists seeking to impart the visual impact of their surroundings. Showcasing landscapes by Doug Dawson, Barry McCuan, Lynne Windsor, and the late Mary Silverwood [1932-2011], Native Beauty presents viewers with a diverse collection made cohesive by the four artists’ shared interest in creating emotional resonance within each piece.

Native Beauty runs from October 3 to 15 and features nearly three dozen new and recent works. Pieces range from 8 by 10 inches to 36 by 48 inches and include oils, acrylics, and pastels that harness the land’s innate magnificence. Ventana sales manager Wolfgang Mabry notes, “With more than 150 years of collective experience and success leading to this exciting group tour de force, Native Beauty show-cases works by artists who have demonstrated, again and again, the uniqueness of their vision and the scope of their painterly skills.” An opening reception for the artists is on Friday, October 3, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Intent on communicating “meaning” in his oil paintings and pastels, Dawson focuses equally on his creative process and the subject matter, regarding emotions visually in terms of climatic conditions and light patterns. A self-described colorist, he often pushes his luminous, heady hues into what he terms a “more experimental” realm. There, he builds layers of light, texture, and color to establish a distinct tactility and harmony among the elements. “I think of a well-constructed painting as a song,” says Dawson.

Barry McCuan, Near Les Baux, oil, 16 x 20.

Barry McCuan, Near Les Baux, oil, 16 x 20.

“My work is just the leaves in my journal, [a] place that I want to share,” remarks McCuan. To that end, he works en plein air as often as possible—most recently in France, England, and Scotland as well as New Mexico—to most effectively converse and connect with his subject matter and audience. Influenced by the Taos Society of Artists and the Impressionists, his oils exhibit a deep fascination with natural light and the vibrancy achieved as it traverses throughout the adroitly applied, layered strokes of color.

Estate representative Joyce Robins refers to Silverwood’s pastels as “much more than landscapes,” recalling the artist’s vested interest in communicating her emotive response to the Southwest. Bold color, intense light, and shadow define Silverwood’s spaces, even as the planes begin to collapse into one another. The resulting compositions are abstracted and expressive. Silverwood wrote, 
“… to convey the landscape to others, I must inject into the colors and designs my feelings and my response to what I see. That takes the image beyond decoration … into an idea that flows from the brain and the heart.”

Windsor describes her work as “an enduring love for the British countryside.” After spending two decades developing carefully composed panoramic scenes of pastoral and aquatic landscapes, Windsor now infuses each piece with her own flavor of spontaneity. “I am enjoying the actual paint more,” she says of her current process. This increasingly physical approach emerges in surges of color, glints of light, and slightly abstracted swaths that lend a sense of refined immediacy to each painting. —Elizabeth L. Delaney

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Featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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