Southwest Art Previews "Ranch Life"

Show Preview: Ranch Life

Southwest Art

Culver City, CA

Maxwell Alexander Gallery, December 10-January 7

  Billy Schenck, To Kill a Mocking Bird, oil, 24 x 30.

Billy Schenck, To Kill a Mocking Bird, oil, 24 x 30.

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

As the landscape of American ranch life continues to change with the tides, Maxwell Alexander Gallery’s group show this month invites viewers to savor slices of its preservation through the eyes of 12 contemporary painters. Each artist shares one or two works inspired by their personal experiences, observations, and expressions of the American ranch and what it stands for. Those artists presenting works include Howard Post, Billy Schenck, Grant Redden, Eric Bowman, Josh Clare, Josh Elliott, Bryan Haynes, and Mark Maggiori. The show opens Saturday, December 10, with an artists’ reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

Gallery director Beau Alexander notes that much of western art is about preserving a changing way of life, a trend that goes back to American artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “This show pays homage to the continued vanishing of the West,” he says. “We’re asking artists to paint their artistic interpretations of ranch life, particularly how it looks today, capturing the moment in history.” 

As a third-generation Arizonan who grew up on a small ranch in Tucson, artist Howard Post is intimately familiar with the show’s theme. “I usually portray the quiet times, the downtimes, the little vignettes of ranch life,” muses Post. In one of his two works for the show, CLEAR WATER, horses graze languidly near a stream. One horse stands apart in the shallow water, poised to take a drink. “I like the abstract qualities I find in animals and nature. That’s what gets me going,” says Post. If a narrative results, he adds, that’s a bonus.

Artist Grant Redden, too, experienced ranch life firsthand growing up on his father’s sheep and cattle ranch. “I’ve worn out many a pair of buckskin gloves,” says Redden, “digging post holes, fixing fences, branding, spreading salt on the summer range, mowing hay, feeding stock in a blizzard.” In his painting for the show, WYOMING COWPUNCHER, Redden portrays a rider in the high-desert plateau of southwestern Wyoming, where he lives today. Although subject matter is important to him, Redden is even more motivated, he says, by “the textures, colors, design elements—all those things that make a painting compelling, regardless of the subject.”

Landscape and figure painter Eric Bowman says he’s discovered a new direction this year in western subject matter. Inspired by the “iconic American cowboy,” Bowman created the painting MORNING RIDER for the show, portraying a working cowboy riding on horseback across open land. “His freedom and slower pace of life is something I see being slowly lost to the modern, industrial, and globalized digital age,” says the native Californian, who today lives in northwestern Oregon. 

Bowman has witnessed the effects of urban sprawl and global outsourcing on ranches and farms around him. “That way of life is diminishing,” he says. “I think art is and always has been a strong influence on the public consciousness when it comes to drawing attention to important issues. Hopefully, this show will contribute to that consciousness and encourage people to consider this important part of our unique history.” —Kim Agricola

To view this show click HERE.

Southwest Art Magazine Previews "Grand Canyon" Exhibition October 2016

Show Preview-Grand Canyon Group Show

by Southwest Art, September 15, 2016

Culver City, CA
Maxwell Alexander Gallery, October 8-November 5

  Brett Allen Johnson, "Southern Rhythm", oil, 19 x 24.

Brett Allen Johnson, "Southern Rhythm", oil, 19 x 24.

This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. 

As often as it has been painted over the past few centuries, the grandeur of the Grand Canyon never ceases to inspire artists. The sheer vastness of the canyon—277 miles long, a mile deep, and up to 18 miles wide in some areas—presents infinite vantage points for creating interpretations on canvas. This month at Maxwell Alexander Gallery, 12 western painters share their own contemporary takes on the Grand Canyon in a group show dedicated to the national park. The show opens on Saturday, October 8, with an artists’ reception at 6 p.m. 

“The Grand Canyon is one of my personal favorites,” says gallery director Beau Alexander. “Probably every western artist in our genre has painted it, and I’m excited to see what the modern masters do with it.” Participating in the show are artists Glenn Dean, Logan Maxwell Hagege, G. Russell Case, David Grossmann, Mark Maggiori, Tim Solliday, Ray Roberts, Matt Smith, Josh Elliott, Teal Blake, Bryan Haynes, and Brett Allen Johnson. The artists began preparing their works as early as eight months before the show, and each artist exhibits one or more paintings. “The Grand Canyon is such a vast and complicated landscape and it’s going to be interesting to see how the artists simplify that,” says Alexander.

  Brett Allen Johnson "Southern Rhythm"               oil, 19 x 24.

Brett Allen Johnson "Southern Rhythm"             oil, 19 x 24.

  Bryan Haynes, "Havasupai–Grand Canyon" oil, 36 x 54.

Bryan Haynes, "Havasupai–Grand Canyon" oil, 36 x 54.

  G. Russell Case,               "One Piece of the Pie"         oil,  24 x 18.

G. Russell Case,             "One Piece of the Pie"       oil,  24 x 18.

  Mark Maggiori,            "Secret Talk at Sunset"         oil, 30 x 24.

Mark Maggiori,            "Secret Talk at Sunset"         oil, 30 x 24.

  Ray Roberts, "  View Towards Horus Temple, Grand Canyon National Park"       oil, 18 x 24.

Ray Roberts, "View Towards Horus Temple, Grand Canyon National Park"       oil, 18 x 24.

  David Grossmann, "Canyon Heights" oil, 34 x 20.

David Grossmann, "Canyon Heights" oil, 34 x 20.

This was Bryan Haynes’ first time painting the canyon, but he has visited the area more than once and has hiked within the park. “I like to tell stories with my paintings and to give a sense of regionalism by placing figures in a landscape,” he says. The artist, who lives in Labadie, MO, brings a piece called HAVASUPAI, GRAND CANYON to the show. In this painting, Haynes says he wanted to suggest the history of the Havasupai Indians who have lived there for centuries, and he selected shapes and colors that reflect the region. “At the same time, I hope to achieve an illusion of the vast depth of the Grand Canyon, while simultaneously referencing the flatness and beautiful design of a Navajo weaving,” adds Haynes. 

Brett Allen Johnson, of Lehi, UT, says his works are often a response to the arid parts of the Southwest—the deserts, badlands, and canyons. “I’m not usually a painter of literal places, and I avoid well-known landmarks,” says Johnson. “I don’t capture places. I make paintings, first and foremost, and I knew that if I were to create a successful painting here, I would have to maintain that motto.” His resulting work, SOUTHERN RHYTHM, portrays the canyon’s rugged geologic strata in fiery vermilion tones. “I feel it’s very important for a painting to come from an authentic place,” says Johnson. “Very simply, these are my places, and this is what they look like.” 

No two paintings in the show will be the same, says Alexander. “When an artist has the vastness of a landscape, it gives them an avenue to explore it and give it their own voice,” he says. As for iconic locations like the Grand Canyon, he adds: “We know how we see it, but how does an artist view it?” —Kim Agricola

To view this show or others, click HERE


Western Art Collector Magazine Previews the "Grand Canyon" Exhibition October 2016

Vistas of the canyon

Nothing defines the freedom and open spaces of the West more than the Grand Canyon. It’s the icon of icons, the natural force that has inspired Western artists beginning famously with Thomas Moran. Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Los Angeles has put together a show of contemporary interpretations of the canyon from leading Western artists such as Mark Maggiori, Bryan Haynes, Brett Allen Johnson, David Grossmann, Ray Roberts, and G. Russell Case.

Grossmann is known for his ethereal and abstracted landscape paintings. In his Grand Canyon piece, titled Canyon Heights, he is able to show the vastness of the canyon as well as its signature vistas just through implied detail.

“Standing on the canyon rim gives me the feeling that I am flying and falling at the same time,” says Grossmann. “When I look far across to the other side, first I notice the flat stillness of the horizon line. Then, as I look father and father down the layers of earth, I watch as the

lines leave their stillness and become more and more curving, gracefully turbulent, until at last I finally glimpse the twisting green river far below.”

Maggiori’s piece Secret Talk at Sunset shows two riders on horseback sharing a moment while the canyon spreads out behind them. It’s a beautiful piece and contrasts the intimacy of the two riders with the overwhelming greatness of the landscape.

“There is no place like that on earth,” says Maggiori. “The Grand Canyon is mystical, mighty and majestic. Observing the light changing from sunrise to sunset is such an enlightening experience. It makes you forget about everything else and imagine that you are all alone and in total bliss.”

Another interesting piece is Haynes’ Havasupai-Grand Canyon. In it a lone Native American figure runs across the foreground, his body lightly imprinted with traditional designs mixed across parts of the canyon.

“It depicts that vast depth of the Grand Canyon while simultaneously suggesting the flatness and beautiful design of a Navajo weaving,” says Haynes. “The painting pays homage to the history of the Native Americans, the Havasupai who have lived in the Canyon for more than one thousand years, with a

figure integral to the landscape: he looks out at us—directly at the viewer. So, I wonder what emotions might be elicited from people who view the painting.” 

Maxwell Alexander Gallery Artists Honored at Eiteljorg Museum's Quest for the West Art Show and Sale

Eiteljorg Museum's Quest for the West Art Show and Sale featured several Maxwell Alexander Gallery artists. Artist Glenn Dean was awarded with the prestigious Victor Higgins Work of Distinction Award for best body of work, and Josh Elliot with the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award. 

  Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award   Josh Elliot,  " Calving Season," 2016  Oil, 24" x 58" . 

Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award

Josh Elliot, "Calving Season," 2016

Oil, 24" x 58" . 

 Work by Glenn Dean at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana

Work by Glenn Dean at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana

To view more of Glenn Dean's Artwork, click HERE. For more artwork by Josh Elliot, click HERE.