Show Preview | Mark Maggiori
By: Southwest Art | November 15, 2017
by Laura Rintala
A cowboy peers down at the rocky trail as his horse picks its way through the loose rock and sagebrush, while behind them the ground falls away to distant snowcapped peaks against a blue sky. In another scene—a nocturne—another cowboy shifts his weight in the saddle and gives his horse rein to make its way down a steep, shrubby incline, the full moon highlighting distant canyon walls. These two paintings, and seven more canvases that examine the often solitary beauty of cowboy life, are on view this month in Mark Maggiori’s solo show entitled Lonesome Souls. It opens at Maxwell Alexander Gallery on Saturday, December 9, with an artist’s reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“When I started work for the show, I was going up to Wyoming [and photographing] cowboys,” Maggiori explains. “For two or three days we were on the Continental Divide. It was very inspiring for me visually. When I came back, I wanted to paint what I had just experienced.” After working through his photos and making sketches, the artist realized a recurring theme: “I ended up painting mostly lonesome cowboys,” he says. “My feeling is that the cowboy life is very lonesome. It’s a feeling of being far from world reality and having symbiosis with nature.” And the painter, alone in his studio day after day, recognized the parallel to his own work. “There’s the beauty of [that solitude] as well as the hard part,” he says.
Lonesome Souls is Maggiori’s second solo show at the gallery and, notes gallery director Beau Alexander, his second solo show ever. “In this show we’re seeing Mark’s style develop. His ability as an artist and his voice as an artist has really matured since his first show in 2015. This show is cohesive and focused on the lonesome cowboy on the range in different scenarios.”
Maggiori pays particular attention to making his images timeless. “I don’t want to mark [a time period] through [the tack or] gear—when you’re a specialist you know it is [contemporary]. But I want to stay on the iconic side of the West,” he says. “That is what brought me to paint cowboys. That is what I have been fascinated with.”
And those cowboys are depicted as larger than life. “I cheat scale. My cowboys are 20 times bigger than they are supposed to be,” he says. And while there is limited human interaction depicted, Maggiori explores other relationships. “We don’t say enough about how important the horse is to that person being in that place and having that experience,” he says.
“The solo show is such a special event for collectors,” Alexander says. “In group shows you see one or two paintings by an artist, maybe three. But you can’t know an artist without seeing them in a solo exhibition, their small works, large works. Mark’s been working on this show for a long time, and we’re excited to be able to present it to the public.”
For more work by Mark Maggiori, click here.