Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back in the saddle

New drawings underway...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Constructed Landscape: New Paintings

I present three new paintings in my constructed landscape series.  Below find the three new images as well as an artist statement that helps clarify my interest in the western landscape as well as my methodology of constructing dioramas:

Bear Lake, Oil on Panel, 24" x 18" 2013

Colorful Colorado, Oil on Panel, 18" x 24" 2013

 Weminuche,Oil on Panel, 36" x 48" 2013

Stemming from my interest in Western art is the tension between its representation as both myth and reality, reflected in its often-ambiguous relationship with authenticity.   While historically paintings of the American have claimed historical fidelity, they often feature many “improvements” fabricated by the artists including overtly theatrical lighting, adjustments to spatial relationships and the kind of things required to create a sublime image of the Western frontier suitable to satisfy their audience’s appetite back east.  The use of realism in these works authenticates that image of the West as the ‘real’ west.  By seeing the cracks in the cowboy’s face and the creases of the saddle, one finds the evidence to support the mythology. 

In my paintings, I attempt to turn these strategies on their heads, utilizing realism for a much different goal.  By constructing miniature dioramas of western landscape out of cardboard and then meticulously rendering the minute details in oil paint I aim to subtly subvert the hallmarks of this genre.  By detailing even the creases and corrugation of the cardboard, I instead highlight the fabricated nature of these culturally constructed images, calling their ‘authenticity’ into question. 

In addition, I employ the language of dioramas as a metaphor for our perception of the utopian western landscape. The idea of a diorama captures the essence of the divide between the imagined West and the actual West. Much like the grand picturesque landscape, a diorama was designed not to actually deceive the viewer so much as to offer a compelling substitute for the real world. With the mythological West, a certain degree of editing and omission occurs in order to portray a specific romanticized perspective, similarly, the diorama, too, shows a preference for the idealized image over a practical reality.  My dioramas do not attempt to create a seamless illusion, rather they emphasize and expose the artifice of the image, challenging the viewers perceptions about the West. 

Landscape Drawings

Here are two Graphite pieces I have done for my upcoming exhibition at JRB Art at the Elms.  Both are based upon cardboard dioramas I constructed of Western landscapes.

Glacier Getaway, Graphite on Paper, 2013

Silverton, Graphite on Paper, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Works on Paper: Cowboys

As noted in a previous post, I have been doing some work in water color over the last couple of months including these two portraits below.  I've also been working with ink again to produce some smaller scale, more intimate portraits of silver screen cowboys.  These works will be exhibited at the soon to be open Peachtree Gallery in Lubbock, TX.  The gallery opens its doors June 7th, so if you are in the area, check it out.  If not, take a look at their website, here.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Where the Buffalo Roam...

This is a new painting I've just finished.  I picked this little guy up at the gift shop of the Rockwell Museum over the summer and have been anxious to use him in a painting.  It's a small piece and was enjoyable to really get invested in some detail work like the curly fur.

Where the Buffalo RoamOil on Panel
11" x 14"

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hi-Yo Silver

I've been working on this self-portrait for a while now.  I believe that it is done or at the very least almost done - perhaps a little more work on the shirt is in order still. 

Hi-Yo Silver
Oil on Panel
48" x 30"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Watercolors, back in the studio, etc.

I've working with watercolors on and off again this fall, mostly in preparation for teaching it to my students.  Here are a few examples of the results.  I enjoy the directness of it and the quick drying time!

Also I just received my show back from the Rockwell Museum (minus the pieces that sold of course).  Anyone interested in a show, they are already crated and ready to go! With these low ceilings I just about tore the sprinkler system right from the ceiling.