So there I was, minding my own business at home on Sunday afternoon, meditating on the inevitable reality (is there any other kind of “reality” other than the inevitable kind?) that tomorrow morning, after a Cinderella-like four-day holiday, it was back to work! And then it hit me. Phoenix Art Museum was having its yearly Western Art Exhibit. Time to cowboy up, hitch up the horses (actually we just drove over in the Chevy) and head on out to the Phoenix Art Museum! Yee-Hah!
Personally, I love Western Art, and I’ve also heard it called Cowboy Art. Here’s what you can always count on: Realism, and along with photo-like realism of people, animals and landscapes, there’s the combo photo / multimedia poster-paint realism. And bronze. I really dig bronze sculptures from all times, places, eras, but Cowboy Art bronze is a special kind of bronze and you know what I mean. Remington. Cowboy Art bronze? You’d better be good to great.
So what does this mean? It means good drawing. Cowboy art is exquisitely drawn – from the sculptures to the paintings, composition and planning is paramount. Uncommon is the explosion of expression common in other formats. Western artists are poets.
Here’s some poetry:
Yeah, the photography is horrible and for that I apologize, but look at this composition. Start by just looking at the wooden chutes from foreground to background. Look at the implied motion. Then look at the six figures, in three pairs; from left to right. Two hunched over; two upright foreground; two background. The cold intent of searching for specks of gold in the mud and muck. The poetry of grit and grim – able bodied men all speechless, yet nothing is left unsaid. I was blown-away by his sense of composition in this work. Look at the faces, look at the hands.
Quite a different statement, but again note the excellent drawing skills – hey – its a drawing! A wonderful spontaneity and nothing overdrawn. Especially note the dogs – expressive and almost sketched. Masterful.
More poetry – a meditation of sorts.
And Photograph / Poster art:
Tony Foster hailing all the way from Cornwall, England took the Silver in Paper:
And one of my personal favorites every year is the work of Bob “Shoofly” Schufelt.
Pencil is tough to work in in this medium – I mean it isn’t impossibly difficult to get an accurate representation, if realism is the goal as it often is with pencil. What is tough with pencil is to get a sense of motion; and even a sense of focus. Once that super-realistic technique is developed, the eye can freeze on the detail robbing the composition of life – nothing seems to move or to have life. Compositional focus can be lost. Bob Schufelt though keeps it alive and keeps it interesting. Check out the link.
There was a lot of it I didn’t include just because there was a lot of it. Check out the links and better yet, if you are a Phoenician, check it out!
Show runs through December 28th!