Charles Pierce

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - CHARLES PIERCE

Ride on

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”

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