Echoes in paint
John Moyers has found a great place to reside within Western art: his work has a traditional feel to it, especially in his incredible paint quality that’s loose and evocative, and yet he has an experimental streak in him that pushes his work into the contemporary wing of the genre.
“I’ve always tried to do my own thing, to paint different stuff,” Moyers says. “I paint for myself. And sometimes experimentation comes out of it because I would be bored out of my mind if I couldn’t experiment.”
Moyers will have a new show, Echoes of the Land, opening June 15 at Maxwell Alexander
Gallery in Los Angeles. It’s his first solo venture at the gallery, where he has previously had work available in group shows. Of the eight new works that will be available will be new Native American portraits, and several new cowboy paintings, including Turbulence, which shows a rider valiantly clinging to his bucking horse.
“I try to do one or two cowboy pieces a year, so when I do them I want them to be very different. Of course, over the years there has been so many cowboy paintings, so it can be a struggle to really develop a unique painting, so I fiddle with them for a long time. I like this one because it’s a variation on the bucking horse,” Moyers says, adding that he and his wife, painter Terri Kelly Moyers, recently moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to California. “The move kept us busy for a long time, so I’m excited to once again doing more cowboy pieces like this.”
While the cowboys remain an important part of Moyers’ studio, it’s his depictions of Native Americans for which he is most widely known and respected. The new show will include pieces such as Chinook Winds and Kooteney Man, both of which feature the artists’ experimental use of color. In both paintings he uses warm colors and their complementary hues— including electric blues, lightly applied pinks
and glowing oranges—to create magnificent portraits that present these historic figures in a more contemporary style, one more similar to Andy Warhol than Frank Tenney Johnson.
“I love playing around with complementary colors, just really focusing on them, even substituting colors in where they work best,” he says. “This is where experimentation is really fun for me because I can dial in all these different colors—i use a really high-end color wheel—in really unexpected ways. I’m trying to stay away from these romanticized, cookiecutter Native American figures. I want them to feel more spiritual and unexpected.”
Turbulence, oil, 26 x 24” The Buffalo Lance, oil, 36 x 36”
The Turquoise Wall, oil, 24 x 24”
Chinook Winds, oil, 24 x 24”