Quest for the West

New and re­turn­ing artists set to de­but stun­ning new work at the Quest for the West in In­di­anapo­lis.

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

In­di­anapo­lis, IN

Western art re­turns with a vengeance to the Mid­west dur­ing the Quest for the West ex­hi­bi­tion at the Eiteljorg Mu­seum of Amer­i­can In­di­ans and Western Art in In­di­anapo­lis. The an­nual sale brings out some of the top Western artists as they of­fer ma­jor new works at a mu­seum known for its stun­ning col­lec­tion.

Events kick off Septem­ber 7 with an open­ing re­cep­tion and a minia­ture sale, now in its sec­ond year as part of the ex­hi­bi­tion’s open­ing week­end. Events con­tinue Septem­ber 8 with a lun­cheon and pro­gram that will al­low par­tic­i­pat­ing artists to dis­cuss a work from the mu­seum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. The fes­tiv­i­ties con­tinue that night with a re­cep­tion and the in­tent-to-pur­chase sale fol­lowed by a ban­quet and awards cer­e­mony. “It’s shap­ing up to be a great show. We’re very pleased with and ex­cited about the art­work we’re see­ing so far. We’re also re­ally ex­cited to see such won­der­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in our minia­ture show dur­ing its sec­ond year,” says Jo­hanna Blume, as­so­ciate cu­ra­tor of Western art, who adds that she’s see­ing some un­planned trends among the works. “We’re see­ing some great bi­son pieces from our wildlife artists, as well as some re­ally great noc­turne and snow scenes. Maybe it’s the heat wave, but you can see cold scenes have been seep­ing into some of the artists’ works. We’re also see­ing some great works of women and also by women, as well as women who are de­pict­ing strong women, which is re­ally great.”

Artists in the ex­hi­bi­tion in­clude Ger­ald Bal­ciar, Tim Cherry, Glenn Dean, Josh El­liott, Robert Griff­ing, David Gross­mann, Lo­gan Maxwell Hagege, Ge­orge Hall­mark, Jerry Jor­dan, Mark Mag­giori, John Moy­ers, P.A. Nis­bet, Roseta San­ti­ago, Tim Sol­l­i­day, Andy Thomas and Howard Post, who will also be show­ing in a solo ex­hi­bi­tion, an honor he was given when he was named the Artist of Dis­tinc­tion at last year’s Quest. New artists this year are Brent Cot­ton, Donna How­ell-sick­les, Mark Kelso and Terri Kelly Moy­ers.

Re­turn­ing artist John Fawcett will be bring­ing his oil The River’s Clue, which was in­spired by his­tory. “More than 400,000 set­tlers, min­ers and ad­ven­tur­ers made the long and ar­du­ous trek from the Mid­west to the West Coast be­tween 1840 and the 1860s. There were many hard­ships along the way due to treach­er­ous ter­rain, dis­ease, debilitate­d an­i­mals, In­dian en­coun­ters and bro­ken equip­ment,” Fawcett says. “One of the com­mon oc­cur­rences was for the metal rims on the wooden wheels to fall off due to the wood dry­ing out, or to have the wheels break apart dur­ing the rough river cross­ings. These braves saw the ev­i­dence of one such mishap, won­der­ing when this hap­pened and what hap­pened to the passers-by?”

Krys­tii Me­laine will be show­ing her oil Spirit of the Wolf, which is ren­dered with a very con­tem­po­rary back­ground. “A young hunter wears the hide of a wolf to add the power of its hunt­ing skills to his own. He be­lieves that the spirit of the an­i­mal re­mains in the hide. Man and wolf are lay­ered in echo­ing poses, and both ap­pear to be real, but are they?” says Me­laine.

“The man’s be­lief is as real to him as the wolf ap­pears to us, al­though parts of the wolf dis­solve into the back­ground. Strong col­ors, lay­ered in tex­tured ab­strac­tion, em­pha­size the op­pos­ing hor­i­zon­tals and ver­ti­cals of the com­po­si­tion. This painting is about what is real, what is true and whether be­lief mat­ters.”

Land­scape painter Jay Moore will be pre­sent­ing a snow scene, New Calves, that will likely be much needed for view­ers af­ter this sum­mer’s heat waves. “I was first drawn to this scene be­cause of the de­sign el­e­ments of the rich black of the group of an­gus cows against the white of the fresh snow, and the flat gray sky,” the Colorado artist says. “How­ever, af­ter look­ing closer, I no­ticed the small new calves nes­tled in the hay on the ground left for them by the rancher. In March, the vul­ner­a­ble new calves need the ex­tra pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments.”

H. David Wright, who’s known for his moun­tain man and pi­o­neer scenes, as well as his paint­ings of Na­tive Amer­i­cans, will be show­ing the mag­nif­i­cent por­trait Hon­ored War­rior. “Horned head­dresses are gen­er­ally as­so­ci­ated with Plains In­di­ans,” he ex­plains. “How­ever, James Adair, a trader who lived with the South­east In­di­ans for 40 years men­tioned In­di­ans wear­ing buf­falo horn head adorn­ment in 1775. My painting is based on that de­scrip­tion.”

Re­turn­ing to the show is Heide Presse, whose scenes of pi­o­neers, in­clud­ing many women, are fan favorites at the show. She will be pre­sent­ing Un­ex­pected Vis­i­tors, show­ing a young woman peer­ing out an open door. “I’ve al­ways no­ticed the beauty in ev­ery­day life…the quiet, fleet­ing mo­ments that feed our soul,” Presse says. “Like when a beam of sun­light hits an or­di­nary ob­ject just right, then a few min­utes later it’s gone. I seek out those mo­ments and cre­ate my art based on the mem­ory of them. And, when a per­son is oc­cu­pied in or­di­nary tasks, I love to cap­ture the beauty in their ges­tures. The woman in this painting is an 1840s pi­o­neer, paus­ing dur­ing her daily chores to peek out at the sound of ap­proach­ing vis­i­tors.”

An­other re­turn­ing artist is C. Michael Du­dash, whose work has been in high de­mand at mu­seum shows. He will be show­ing Rid­ers of the Canyon, a Na­tive Amer­i­can scene, as well as Goin’ Fer the Gold, which shows a num­ber of fig­ures on horse­back and a wagon that is bounc­ing through the coun­try­side. “When the ex­cit­ing word of a gold dis­cov­ery in some dis­tant re­mote Western val­ley hit the pi­o­neer air­waves, it didn’t take long for for­tune seek­ers and ev­ery imag­in­able char­ac­ter type to hit the trail,” Du­dash says. “Gold fever was real, and the hope of wealth and riches that went along with find­ing a claim full of ‘the color’ was also real. I thought that the sub­ject of a few of the min­ers scram­blin’ over a ridge into their val­ley of hope would be fun to paint…and I was right!”

Other works in­clude Hall­mark’s Mex­i­can cityscapes and street scenes, mag­nif­i­cent new char­coal works from Rox Cor­bett, a snowy noc­turne by El­liott, col­or­ful works on pa­per by How­ell-sick­les and a ma­jor new work from Griff­ing, who paints a lo­cal myth from his child­hood of a mys­te­ri­ous boat in a Penn­syl­va­nian swamp.

The open­ing week­end takes place Septem­ber 7 and 8, but the Quest for the West ex­hibit will be on view through Oc­to­ber 7.

G. Rus­sell Case, Fad­ing En­core, oil, 30 x 40”

Josh El­liott, Un­der a Full Moon, oil, 20 x 60”

Rox Cor­bett, Life is Sheep: Navajo Churro, char­coal on cot­ton rag pa­per, 15¼ x 29”

David Gross­mann, Fields with Quickly Melt­ing Snow, oil on linen panel, 7 x 12”

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