Kim Wig­gins

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - KIM WIG­GINS

En­ergy and nu­ance

Kim Wig­gins took a master class with Henriette Wyeth at the Santa Fe Art In­sti­tute. Wyeth was a neigh­bor of sorts in Roswell, New Mex­ico, where both her hus­band, Peter Hurd, and Wig­gins were raised. Wyeth en­cour­aged him to go out­side and to paint the ranch­lands he lived on and the fea­tures of the South­west land­scape.

Wig­gins’ fa­ther was a noted pho­to­jour­nal­ist and his mother a rodeo cow­girl. They en­cour­aged him in his early in­ter­est in sculpt­ing small fig­ures of an­i­mals in clay and his move to paint­ing in oils when he was 14.

He im­mersed him­self in the land­scape, ab­sorb­ing its en­ergy and its nu­ances and de­vel­oped his own ver­sion of ex­pres­sion­ism to por­tray what he saw and felt in the land­scape. To­day he is one of the most rec­og­nized con­tem­po­rary painters of the West.

A keen in­ter­est in his­tory was in­spired by his grand­fa­ther’s col­lec­tion of Old West mag­a­zines from which he would read to him. He has cre­ated large his­tor­i­cal paint­ings of Custer’s Last Stand, the bat­tle of the Alamo in The Tex­i­ans and a se­ries of 10 ma­jor paint­ings on the his­tory of Cal­i­for­nia that now re­side at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

Yet it is his New Mex­ico land­scapes that are, per­haps, best known.

In Pe­cos Val­ley Sunset a farmer plows his field on his green John Deere, dwarfed by the moun­tains and the land­scape around him. Fields, trees, wind­mills and farm build­ings morph into one en­er­getic whole formed on can­vas by his thick im­pas­tos of paint and echo­ing the one­ness of na­ture.

The peo­ple of the re­gion speak to him as much as the land­scape. He says, “When I look around I see the His­panic in­flu­ences. I see the peo­ple. I see the vi­brant col­ors.” His Lovers at Las Tram­pas por­trays a young cou­ple lit by lantern and moon­light in front of the church at Las Tram­pas that was com­pleted in the other­wise sig­nif­i­cant year of 1776. The faith of the early set­tlers of the re­gion is re­flected in his own deep per­sonal faith.

These paint­ings and oth­ers can be seen in an ex­hi­bi­tion of his work at Man­i­tou Gal­leries on West Palace Av­enue in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, the week­end of Au­gust 2 through 5.

Kim Wig­gins in his New Mex­ico stu­dio.

A Ride in Spring, oil, 11 x 14"

Vil­lage Along the Llano Que­mado, oil, 9 x 12"

Lovers at Las Tram­pas, oil, 16 x 20"

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