Chuck Mid­dlekauff

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - CHUCK MID­DLEKAUFF

Pop Goes the West

In his lat­est se­ries of paint­ings, ti­tled Pop Goes the West, artist Chuck Mid­dlekauff com­bines the clas­sic West­ern art im­age of the cow­boy with Pop Art in­flu­ences. His pieces take view­ers on a jour­ney through color, ab­strac­tion and nos­tal­gia. “[The cow­boys are] from my child­hood with the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and the movies,” Mid­dlekauff says, adding, “I put them in fun sit­u­a­tions, with the wall be­hind them or Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe or the Coke sign.”

Each piece is meant to be fun and “bring back the fad­ing Amer­ica” the artist grew up with. It’s the Amer­ica he found in his child­hood, and one he be­lieves that oth­ers can re­late to. In The Last Pic­ture Show, for in­stance, a cow­boy with his boots up is seen against a back­ground of drive-in movie the­ater speak­ers. “It’s a fun im­age be­cause peo­ple re­mem­ber those times as well, the by­gone era,” he says.

Works such as Souped Up and Broad Side of the Barn, with the im­ages of a Camp­bell’s soup la­bel and Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, hint to one of the most rec­og­nized Pop artists: Andy Warhol. Mid­dlekauff ex­plains they are his en­vi­sion­ing of that style of art­work with time­less icons. Also found through­out his pieces are the tools he uses to cre­ate the work—paint­brushes, pen­cils, paint splat­ter, erasers and more.

“It’s like a paint­ing of a paint­ing in progress,” he shares. “I was work­ing on the paint­ings and re­al­ized I was putting my tools on the can­vas when I worked, so I would draw them on there.” The draw­ings un­der­neath can also be seen on the can­vas, as well as the splat­ters and col­ors that are re­minders of the Pop style. This idea is newer in Mid­dlekauff’s pieces, with him stat­ing, “Artists have to move on all the time, and I keep adding things to my reper­toire as I go.”

Pop Goes the West will be on view through De­cem­ber 31 at Davis & Blevins Gallery in St. Jo, Texas. The show, which will also in­clude paint­ings of road signs that can be seen dur­ing trav­els out West, is the artist’s first solo ex­hi­bi­tion with the gallery.

The Last Pic­ture Show, wa­ter me­dia on pa­per mounted on can­vas, 40 x 30”

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