Phoenix Art Museum, November 14-December 28
This story was featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Some of the finest examples of western art being produced today are on display beginning November 14 in the Phoenix Art Museum’s annual show The West Select: A Western Art Invitational Sale and Exhibition. Chosen to participate based on their reputations as leaders in their genres, the 37 invited artists represent a cross section of approaches and mediums. Returning artists include Walter Matia, Robert Peters, Arturo Chávez, Merrill Mahaffey, Richard Loffler, and Tony Foster. The latter two artists hail from Canada and England, respectively, demonstrating the show’s wide geographic reach. Newcomers include Christopher Benson, Teresa Elliott, David Kessler, and Glenn Dean.
“We only invite artists who, in their finest moment of producing art, we would want to see in our museum collection. Not surprisingly, that sets the bar pretty high,” says Jerry Smith, curator of American and western American art at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Each artist is invited to submit four works, leading to a presentation of some 120 works. Each piece has been produced in the last year and is being exhibited in a museum show for the first time, offering viewers the chance to enjoy previously unseen pieces in an expansive museum gallery.
The lovely setting is a great appeal to the artists, some of whom plan throughout the year for this show. “It’s a nice mini retrospective of what I do. It shows a good range of what I’ve been doing in that year,” says wildlife sculptor Matia, who shows a set of roadrunner sculptures titled PAISANOS and HUNGER IS THE BEST SAUCE, among other works.
Texas-based painter Elliott is joining the show for the first time and brings two paintings of subject matter for which she’s best known: longhorn portraiture. “I really enjoy the balance between the texture of the horn, the fur of the cow, and the glistening nose,” she says. “I’m glad to be admitted to a museum show where my work can be seen by a different audience.”
The West Select is especially meaningful for landscape painter Peters, who grew up in Phoenix taking field trips with his elementary school classes to the Phoenix Art Museum, where he was first inspired to pursue an art career. The Prescott, AZ-based artist shows the subtly hued REMNANTS OF TIME, depicting the ancient remains of a Navajo alcove dwelling, among other works.
For the first time since the show’s 2011 inception, artists were also asked to submit a miniature. These works, which offer an approachable price point for buyers, are available for purchase along with the main pieces on the day of the sale but aren’t part of the public exhibition.
The sale opens to ticket-holders only on Friday, November 14, with a viewing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a luncheon and awards presentation takes place at 12:30 p.m. The fixed-price sale begins at 5:30 p.m. Participants submit intent-to-purchase slips for pieces they wish to buy, and the person whose name is drawn has the option to purchase. The sale is presented by the Men’s Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum and benefits the museum’s operations and western-art acquisitions. The show opens to the public on Sunday, November 16, and remains on display through December 28. —Ashley M. Biggers
Featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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