Coors West­ern Art Ex­hibit & Sale

Den­ver, CO

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Over the past 25 years, the Coors West­ern Art Ex­hibit & Sale has be­come one of the largest con­tem­po­rary West­ern art ex­hi­bi­tions. The event, which is a fundraiser for the Na­tional West­ern Schol­ar­ship Trust, is part of the an­nual Na­tional West­ern Stock Show, and high­lights the work of more than 60 con­tem­po­rary re­al­ists from North America and Europe. This year’s 26th edi­tion kicks off Tues­day, Jan­uary 8, with the Red Car­pet Gala Re­cep­tion, and is then open to the pub­lic dur­ing the stock show from Jan­uary 12 through 27.

Dur­ing last year’s event more than 1,000 at­ten­dees were present for the gala, which is the first chance for vis­i­tors to view the art­work and meet the ex­hibit­ing artist, while over 30,000 pa­trons came through the doors dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion’s run. At the show, vis­i­tors are treated to works by artists such as Michael Bless­ing, Ken­neth Bunn, Teresa El­liott, Andy Evansen, Dou­glas Fryer, Stephanie Hartshorn, Quang Ho, Steve Kestrel, Ji­van Lee, Eric Merrell, Bil­lyo O’don­nell, Howard Post, Tim Shin­abarger and Jill Soukup, to name a few.

Each year a featured artist is named, with the 2019 hon­oree be­ing Terry Gard­ner of Morrison, Colorado.

Gard­ner, who has ex­hib­ited in the show for 15 years, had his paint­ing Pur­ple Rider se­lected by the Coors West­ern Art Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee as the sig­na­ture piece. The paint­ing, which will reside in the Na­tional West­ern’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, will be avail­able for sale as posters dur­ing the show.

“Ev­ery paint­ing is an emo­tional in­vest­ment de­pict­ing the in­ti­mate cor­ners of the Amer­i­can West,” Gard­ner says. “Some are close to home, some are high in the moun­tains, but all cap­ture the spirit of the sur­round­ings and are in­tended to in­vite con­tem­pla­tion. From draw­ings and stud­ies are born paint­ings, and what is re­flected are modern, com­pas­sion­ate im­ages of a place I love, the Amer­i­can West.”

Other art­work featured at Coors in­cludes O’don­nell’s paint­ing Above Sil­ver­ton, Colorado that was in­spired from a smaller piece he painted on lo­ca­tion. “There are times where the lo­ca­tion puts me in a state of mind, just by look­ing at the sub­ject,” he shares, “where I can see the land­scape around me in thick, tex­tu­ral, juicy paint.”

An­other land­scape in the show is Merrell’s Desert Twi­light – The Sal­ton Sea, which promi­nently features a large body of wa­ter. “I think we seek out places that re­flect our­selves. I feel very much at home in wide-open desert spa­ces. There is some­thing very con­tem­pla­tive to me about the Sal­ton Sea and I’ve painted it a num­ber of times, but I’ve never seen sun­set col­ors on a body of wa­ter like this any­where else,” Merrell ex­plains. “I have al­ways been drawn to work that ex­presses a strong sense of the in­di­vid­ual artist—art­work that tells us some­thing of their opin­ion of life, not as an em­bed­ded nar­ra­tive but obliquely, some­thing that they felt deeply, in­ter­nal­ized and in­ter­preted.”

Along with paint­ings, there will be draw­ings in the show such as Tim­mons’ pen­cil draw­ing Wooly. “I was vis­it­ing my friend’s ranch a few years ago and got some great ref­er­ences and sketches of her small herd of sheep,” shares Tim­mons. “Wooly was the first draw­ing I’ve done from that day, and it proved to be dif­fi­cult be­cause I un­der­es­ti­mated how hard it would be to draw the wool, but I am pleased with the re­sults. There will definitely be more draw­ings of that par­tic­u­lar sub­ject in the fu­ture.”

Crowds gather dur­ing the 2017 event in Den­ver. Photo by Steve Peterson, stevepeter­ Schol­ar­ship stu­dents at the Coors West­ern Art Ex­hibit & Sale.

Bil­lyo O’don­nell, Above Sil­ver­ton, Colorado, oil on board, 24 x 30”

Eric Merrell, Desert Twi­light – The Sal­ton Sea, oil on can­vas, 30 x 30”

Terry Gard­ner, The Pur­ple Rider, oil on linen, 40 x 40”

Karmel Tim­mons, Wooly, pen­cil, 7 x 8”

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