S.C. Mum­mert

Kissed by the sun

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - S.C. MUM­MERT

Sev­eral unique qual­i­ties per­me­ate S.C. Mum­mert’s new­est paint­ings, many of which are cow­girls clad in vin­tage Western duds. First, they are set firmly in a time pe­riod in which the Western in TV and film was king, 1925 to 1955, the glory days of the West. Se­condly, the works have a sunny Cal­i­for­nia qual­ity to them, which comes from the Hol­ly­wood in­spi­ra­tion of the era and the San Diego set­ting of the artist. A third qual­ity can be summed up in one word: smiles. His fig­ures don’t just look amaz­ing, they also ap­pear to be en­joy­ing it all as well.

That might seem like a mi­nor point of in­ter­est, but so much of Western art is life and death, ad­ven­ture, calamity, silent re­flec­tion or even just ag­o­niz­ing work, that a smile has a way of bright­en­ing the can­vas and hu­man­iz­ing the sub­jects. “I was raised in an era when Amer­ica was madly in love with the West, in­clud­ing all things Western like Gene Autry bi­cy­cles, TV, movies and Roy Rogers stuff…i could go on and on. I found this great footage of Walt Dis­ney step­ping out of Dis­ney­land wear­ing a cow­boy hat. The West was an ex­cit­ing part of Amer­i­can cul­ture,” Mum­mert says. “I want to try and project my feel­ings, my take, on the West in my work, and dis­play my af­fec­tion for it.”

This af­fec­tion can cer­tainly be felt in his works show­ing his fe­male fig­ures, all of them strong, in­de­pen­dent and in­cred­i­bly self­aware. They are beau­ti­ful but also mod­estly dressed and pre­sented as proud am­bas­sadors of the Western life­style—whole­some cow­boy pin­ups. The fig­ures are posed in stage-like sets with ar­ti­fi­cial back­grounds and wall­pa­pers of

iconic Western im­agery draped be­hind them, as if to ac­cen­tu­ate the Hol­ly­wood as­pect of the era. They feel staged, and that’s the point—they could be pub­lic­ity stills, ad­ver­tis­ing il­lus­tra­tions or just head shots for young up-and-com­ing ac­tresses. The cloth­ing is an­other im­por­tant el­e­ment; all of it is vin­tage and authen­tic of the era.

“For one of the paint­ings, Kalei­do­scope, that’s a 1930s scene and those are 80-yearold jodh­purs. We had to have some­thing sewn up on them, and the seam­stress was blown away be­cause no one sews like that any­more. They’re just amaz­ing,” Mum­mert says, adding that he finds vin­tage Western wear all around the coun­try. In A Girl’s Gotta Have Op­tions, which shows a beam­ing fe­male fig­ure hold­ing an 1893 Winch­ester be­hind her neck across her shoul­ders, Mum­mert found a pair of ex­pen­sive high-waisted jeans from the late 1930s, and in Pic­ture Per­fect, his fig­ure is stand­ing amid iconic buck­ing bronco im­ages in the back­ground while wear­ing a pair of vin­tage beaded gauntlets that were ac­quired from a friend. All these ma­te­ri­als help in­form the time and place of his sub­ject mat­ter.

“I love find­ing these things that hit a chord with peo­ple be­cause it builds en­thu­si­asm within me, too. I’m al­ways try­ing to get bet­ter. My deal is to wake up and try to make a bet­ter paint­ing than I did the day be­fore,” Mum­mert says. “Nor­man Rock­well did the same thing: the next paint­ing was al­ways his best. I have to feel like a kid grow­ing as I put marks on the wall and watch to see as I rise past them.”

In ad­di­tion to the fe­male fig­ures, the artist will also be show­ing more tra­di­tional cow­boy pieces, in­clud­ing Line Rid­ers, which shows two rid­ers de­scend­ing a steep hill in a stun­ning lu­mi­nous light.

The works will be on view in Lip­stick, Lead & Leather, open­ing July 2 at Trailside Galleries in Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming. The show runs through July 15.

The Tomboy, oil, 30 x 20"

Mem­o­ries, oil, 40 x 30"

A Girl’s Gotta Have Op­tions, oil, 44 x 36"

Line Rid­ers, oil, 24 x 48"

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