Charles Pierce’s RIDER SERIES came about after the Oklahoma artist’s painting Distant Rider, which hangs at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, sparked questions as to when he would create more paintings featuring his horse and rider. The artwork blossomed from there.
Pierce says the series is representative, in many ways, of the importance of horses to the Indian Nation as a whole, and what a prominent role horses played in their everyday lives. “I used to ride horses when I was a kid all the time...their mode of transportation, how they moved across the United States, it’s kind of like a spirit of following the seasons,” Pierce says of the series.
All acrylic on paper, new works include Tequila Sunrise, a scene of striking, highly saturated tones of yellow and orange, and Coastal Rider, a piece with crashing waves against a bright red sky. Tequila Sunrise was inspired by a trip the artist took to the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, which displays a number of Mark Rothko’s works. A huge fan of Rothko, Pierce says he was enraptured by the artist’s use of vivid color. “Those sunrises and sunsets are so awesome for me,” he says.
Coastal Rider came to be after Pierce spent a Christmas in Malibu and sat out on the sand imagining the Native Americans who used to ride up and down those beaches.
The series includes other brightly colored acrylics, with the exception of Artic Rider,a work of contrasting blacks, whites and grays, inspired by an exploration of Brooks Range in the Arctic Circle. When setting out to begin a new work, Pierce explains that there is not always a clear picture in his mind as to what direction the painting will go. “I kind of follow the paint,” he says. “I start applying paint to the canvas, and as I do this I think ‘oh, this would look good here.’”
Pierce allows his art to come together organically, and this is how he hopes his work is received as well. There isn’t one singular message he is attempting to convey when collectors view his work—instead, he leaves it up to individual interpretation. “I think it’s neat that different people see my stuff in different ways.”
Tequila Sunrise, acrylic on paper, 12 x 16”
Clockwise from above:MOJAVE, acrylic on paper, 12 x 16”Winter Solstice, acrylic on paper, 12 x 16”Scouting Party, acrylic on paper, 12 x 16”