Show Preview | Women Artists of the West Show

Fredericksburg, TX
RS Hanna Gallery, November 15-December 13

Sharon Markwardt, Young Gun, oil, 12 x 16.

Sharon Markwardt, Young Gun, oil, 12 x 16.

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Most meet-the-artists events happen on the opening evening or weekend of a show. But the artists’ reception for the 46th annual Women Artists of the West National Exhibition takes place at the midpoint of the four-week-long show, which opens on November 15. On Friday morning, December 2, many of the 20 or so members planning to attend gather for a plein-air-painting session at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm in scenic Lyndon B. Johnson State Park. That’s not far from the Hill Country art mecca of Fredericksburg, where this year’s show is being presented at RS Hanna Gallery. On Friday evening, coinciding with Fredericksburg’s annual Light the Night parade, a celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. includes the announcement of the artists’ awards. Awards are selected by guest judge Nancy Boren, a respected Texas painter, from among the 180 works in the show. An awards brunch takes place the next morning, followed by a painting demonstration from Boren.

It all adds up to an impressive presentation from an organization that began in 1971 with fewer than three dozen members. Over the years, WAOW has evolved from what was originally a group of female artists primarily exploring western subjects to a far more inclusive membership embracing not only a wide variety of two- and three-dimensional mediums but also all manner of subjects, genres, and styles. Now, as then, the group’s primary mission has been to “function as a support system” for women artists, according to president Christine Drewyer. “We were founded by women who could not get gallery representation,” she says, “even though women are creating at least half of the extraordinary art in America.”

One glimpse of the works in the show bears out Drewyer’s observation. Take, for example, SEPTEMBER HAY, an oil in which Colorado painter Ginger Whellock captures the pastoral loveliness of an early-autumn afternoon as hay is harvested near the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. “I am interested in life where land is most important,” says the artist, a proud master signature member who appreciates not only how supportive members are but also “how accepting they are of emerging artists,” she says. Adds Texas-based painter Linda Wacaster, a signature member of 15 years’ standing, “I’ve seen membership grow and the art get better and better.” Her own painting WE THREE KINGS, richly depicting a regal trio of rams, attests to the high standards that are on display.

Indeed, “technical excellence” shines throughout the event, notes show chairperson Julie Gowing Hayes, who eagerly anticipates the show’s opening at RS Hanna Gallery. “This reception weekend is a great opportunity for art lovers to meet a lot of our members and hear them talk about their work,” she says. —Lynn Dubinsky

contact information
417.271.2407
www.waow.org

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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