Re­cently Ac­quired

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

“We get calls all the time from peo­ple say­ing they have ‘dis­cov­ered’ a new Western artist we should be col­lect­ing,” says Seth Hop­kins, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Booth Western Art Mu­seum in Ge­or­gia. “Usu­ally these turn out to be a rel­a­tive or friend who is try­ing to help an artist who is not ready for prime time. How­ever, when I re­ceived a call from a gallery owner who was telling about an artist in an­other gallery and he was of­fer­ing to buy a piece for the Booth col­lec­tion—that got my at­ten­tion.”

In­dus­try vet­eran Bill Han­dler has owned gal­leries for years in Ge­or­gia; Park City, Utah; Florida; and else­where, so he has seen his share of art. On a visit to his eye doc­tor in Park City, the good doc­tor urged him to check out the work of a tal­ented new artist who was rent­ing stu­dio space on the floor above. Han­dler took the chal­lenge and walked up­stairs to find Kevin Ke­hoe and his con­tem­po­rary takes on the West. He was im­me­di­ately smit­ten.

Thanks to the gen­eros­ity of Bill Han­dler and his son and busi­ness part­ner Gary, Western Book Club was re­cently do­nated to the Booth col­lec­tion. Ke­hoe had a suc­cess­ful run as an ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive and cre­ative di­rec­tor be­fore de­cid­ing to pur­sue fine art in 2013. “I de­cided to fol­low my heart and pur­sue my life­long dream of be­com­ing a painter. Al­low­ing the painter in­side of me to be re­vealed seemed long over­due. Rein­vent­ing one’s self isn’t easy, never dull and ever in­vig­o­rat­ing,” says the artist.

Early in­di­ca­tors of suc­cess have in­cluded his se­lec­tion as one of two artists to be in­cluded in the open­ing ex­hi­bi­tion at the brand new South­ern Utah Mu­seum of Art in 2016. Twelve paint­ings in his se­ries called Western Ther­apy, in­clud­ing Western Book Club, were in­cluded in the in­au­gu­ral ex­hibit. The state of Utah also pur­chased a work from the se­ries and he was picked up by Al­tamira Fine Art. His first solo gallery show opened at Al­tamira’s Scotts­dale lo­ca­tion in 2017. Ke­hoe says he is amazed at how quickly things have pro­gressed for him lately. “I’m ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties that the fu­ture holds. It feels as though this was the plan all along. That ev­ery­thing in my cre­ative life be­fore this was pre­par­ing me for this spe­cial pur­pose. As I like to say, I’m all in.”

When it comes to his phi­los­o­phy on art he states it fairly sim­ply, “It’s re­al­ism with a soft but pre­cise painterly qual­ity that ex­presses my sub­ject mat­ter like an emo­tion­ally con­jured im­age. I try to cap­ture how a mo­ment in time or ex­pe­ri­ence should be rel­ished and re­mem­bered. Sim­ply put, I strive to paint how some­thing makes me feel. How I want to re­call it in my mind and more im­por­tantly, my heart,” says Ke­hoe.

The Booth Mu­seum strives to be the coun­try’s lead­ing col­lec­tor of liv­ing artists and con­tem­po­rary de­pic­tions of the West. Ke­hoe, although fairly new to the Western genre, shows a def­i­nite tal­ent for iden­ti­fy­ing in­ter­est­ing ideas and com­po­si­tions that are set in the West but con­vey univer­sal thoughts or mes­sages. And while he lives and works in the West and loves the re­gion, he does not con­sider him­self a Western artist. “I call my­self a New Amer­i­can painter be­cause I’m ex­actly that, with a healthy em­pha­sis on ‘new,’” says Ke­hoe. His new­est se­ries fo­cuses on horses, which he calls Of Horse, Of Heart. One of the first pieces in the se­ries is a work called Morn­ing Air, a 32-by-42-inch oil on linen, avail­able at Al­tamira’s Jack­son Hole lo­ca­tion.

Hop­kins says the Booth Mu­seum is pleased to be adding this work to its col­lec­tion at this time. “We be­lieve Kevin has a bright fu­ture in the art world, and we are thrilled to be getting a great early work. We look for­ward to fol­low­ing his ca­reer, see­ing how he pro­gresses and per­haps adding more of his work to the col­lec­tion down the road.”

—Cour­tesy the Booth Western Art Mu­seum

Call­ing all Western Art mu­se­ums! Have a re­cently ac­quired paint­ing or sculp­ture? Email the de­tails to edi­[email protected]­ernart­col­lec­

Kevin Ke­hoe, Western Book Club, oil on poly-linen, 30 x 50"

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