Opening August 9 with an artists’ reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Culver City, California, is a group exhibition featuring the powerful and dynamic landscape of the Vermilion Cliffs region of Northern Arizona. There will be more than 15 new works on show by a powerhouse group of talent, including Len Chmiel, D. LaRue Mahlke, Ed Mell, Logan Maxwell Hagege, G. Russell Case, Gary Ernest Smith, Glenn Dean, Jeremy Lipking, Josh Elliott, Mark D. Nelson, Mark Maggiori, Ray Roberts, and Tim Solliday.
“The Vermilion Cliffs region is a very dramatic sight to see,” explains Beau Alexander of Maxwell Alexander Gallery. “The name of the area is self-explanatory, and the vermilion-colored cliffs have proven to be a frequently painted subject for landscape artists. Depending on the time of year, visitors can find snow on the ground or temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees. In a single day the weather can also be very dramatic, changing from sunlight to rain to hail or snow.”
He continues, “We have seen a large number of paintings being produced in this region over the last eight years or so and we felt that it was time to highlight the location with an exhibit to give it the importance that it deserves. Our goal is to only show museum-quality work, so we’ve invited the top tier of landscape and Western artists to participate in this show. It’s going to be a real treat.”
Case says that the Vermilion Cliffs is “…all in all my favorite place to paint, and one of my favorite subjects. I love the simple areas with the in and out of canyons, which allows for great rhythms of shadows. The layering of ridge lines in the evening is useful for a subtle atmosphere painting with the morning being great for high-contrast and high-key temperature feels.”
Roberts travels at least once or twice a year to the Vermilion Cliffs area from his home in Angels Camp, California. He also teaches painting workshops at nearby Marble Canyon. One of the paintings in the show will be a 20-by-30-inch moonrise painting of Echo Cliffs. “I had to do quick sketches, the light changes so fast,” adds Roberts.
Mahlke says that long before she had the opportunity to go to Vermilion Cliffs she experienced its sublime beauty through the paintings of fellow artists, “Their portrayal of Northern Arizona and the Vermilion Cliffs sparked a strong desire to go there myself and, in 2006, I had the chance to travel through the region for the first time. That was all it took. Vermilion Cliffs has since become a favorite place to retreat to, usually with an artist friend, to paint, photograph and refresh my spirit in the glory of God’s creation,” says Mahlke.
In her pastel work Illuminated, Mahlke explains, “Usually the sky over Vermilion Cliffs is a glorious display of all kinds of clouds. On this day, the sunlight and cloud shadows were mesmerizing to watch as they danced across the desert and onto the face of the cliffs. Suddenly this peak was brightly illuminated, as all else fell into shadow…”
The exhibition which features Western Art in Los Angeles hangs at the gallery through August 30th.