Show Preview | Altamira Fine Art: John Nieto

Jackson, WY, June 28-July 11

21st Century Buffalo, mixed media, 48 x 60.

Meeting John Nieto is like meeting Picasso, proclaims Mark Tarrant, owner of Altamira Fine Art. “He has this powerful presence and then he also has a twinkle in the eye as if he has a secret we don’t know,” Tarrant says. “He is amazing and painting with the vitality and verve of a much younger artist.”

For decades the legendary Nieto, 75, has been a part of the western art scene, creating bold, colorful paintings that portray Native Americans and wildlife with his own unique visual stamp. The works often reflect his Hispanic and American Indian heritage as well as his deep roots in New Mexico, which can be traced back 300 years.

This month Altamira presents a show of 25 new works by the painter titled Nieto: The Twenty First Century. It opens with a reception on June 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. When Nieto talks about this new body of work, his enthusiasm is obvious and contagious. Although his subject matter remains essentially the same, he says he is excited because the new work is more contemporary and expressionistic than in the past. “People will definitely see shades of Robert Rauschenberg in 21ST CENTURY BUFFALO,” he says. “It has drippings, wide brush strokes, and even a little piece of an old, weathered, faded American flag that I salvaged.”

In addition to more expressionistic paintings, viewers can also expect to see a selection of new mixed-media works that incorporate found objects. For example, Nieto includes miniature metal sculptures depicting buffaloes in small boxes at the top of the painting titled ABUNDANCE to provide viewers with what he describes as “more food for thought.”

Nieto says that as he has grown older, he finds his artistic vision is clearer and his focus narrower. These days, for example, he enjoys regularly casting his creative eye on two American icons as subject matter: the buffalo and the archer. “John has accomplished what few dare to dream,” Tarrant says. “His one-man shows at Altamira always have the excitement of a rock star coming to town. Nieto: The Twenty First Century will be the must-see event of the season.” 
—Bonnie Gangelhoff

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Featured in the June 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase a copy:
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