New Visions New Visions
New Visions  New Visions of the West exhibition New Visions of the West

NEW VISIONS OF THE WEST

opens Friday, July 11, reception 6–9 pm
at Whitespace, 2420 Wall Ave, Ogden UT
exhibition thru September 27

Buffalo Bill and Jesse James have gone forth to the Last Roundup, but the stories of the West continue to evolve and still need telling. New Visions of the West features nearly two dozen artists who revisit iconic themes, legendary stories and familiar landscapes, looking at them again through a contemporary lens: how we interact with and impact the expanse once thought to be the Last Frontier.

Experience these (ir)reverent tales as told in the mediums of
photography, painting, paper, glass and clay.


Curator’s Statement

"No other nation," says David Murdoch, "has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America’s creation of the West."

Murdoch, David (2001). The American West: The Invention of a Myth. University of Nevada Press. p. vii. ISBN 978-0874173697.

The American West is fascinating, not only as place, but as concept.

During the 19th century it represented, for many immigrants, a fresh start and the opportunity to prove oneself.   More than just a place, the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, Americans, who valued equality and democracy, as well as individualism, self-reliance, and even violence. For those already citizens, rallying cries of  ‘Manifest Destiny’ asserted their God-given right to explore, conquer and settle the continent all the way to the Pacific.

As accounts became stories, and stories became legends, the West grew to represent the best of America herself. Now, more than 150 years later, we still find ourselves bound to romanticized notions: ‘the West’ represents freedom, perseverance, a spirit of exploration.  We have created entire mythologies of the places here, and of the people who conquered them.

Expansive vistas - vast red deserts broken by canyons or buttes; snow-capped mountains trailing gracefully to lush valleys; wagon trains, cowboys, ghost towns, heroic (and villainous) characters who tamed the wilderness (and each other), built empires, amassed fortunes, and died young - these things are etched in the minds of even those who’ve never been there.

Yes, the west is all of these things, and more.

Here, the land shapes the people, and the people make marks upon the land. Until recently, however, the majority of art produced about the west relied on traditional representations, on romantic nostalgia.

Artists have attempted to render the West’s varied natural landscape - to capture light unique to desert, mountain and endless sky - with an eye to faithful record, or a sense of nostalgia, since before the American West was American.

Over the years, Bierstadt, Remington, Adams and their hundreds of disciples produced thousands of works, interpreting and glorifying that which has always been, and the lives of those who arrived to change it.

What then, is left?

While Buffalo Bill, Jesse James, and Calamity Jane have all gone forth to the Last Roundup, the stories of the West continue, evolving, and still need telling.These are stories about the now of the West.  And they’re not always so sunny.

In NVOW, nearly two dozen artists revisit iconic themes, legendary stories and familiar landscapes, looking at them again through a contemporary lens:  how we interact with, and impact, the expanse once thought to be the last frontier. More than just looking at new ways to tell the stories of familiar places, they also find new ways of expressing them, using new media like glass and clay in addition to paint and photography.   

Change, of course, is inevitable. We have tamed the land with technology and industry, (though it’s still capable of killing the unprepared).

Today’s American West is still home to wide expanses of desert, but those vistas are now as likely to be broken by towers as buttes, as likely to be cut through with interstates as by canyons. No longer a virgin territory of limitless potential, it is peppered with the remnants of failed enterprise.

Gone too are the petticoats and long dresses of Pioneer women, replaced by short shorts and tank tops. Cowboys are more likely to drive trucks than ride horses. Painted ladies have become Showgirls. Boots and guns, trains and sunsets, remain.

And yet, for all the marks upon the land, the west remains symbolic.The natural beauty of those spaces left untouched still inspires.  George Kozmon’s charcoal drawings preserve the romanticized West in stately glory, framed as contemporary altarpieces.

Those who have populated the West still cherish personal freedoms; it is no coincidence that Burning Man, a yearly festival of personal freedom and artistic self-expression is held in the alkaline desert of Nevada - it could likely happen nowhere else.  

These works bring us new tropes, some of which ask ”what hath we wrought?”, while others honor the original themes of freedom and adventure. Others still like those of Paco Pomet and Geoffry Smalley skewer the stereotypes of the west with a wry humor. Several works in this exhibition make the case that the landscape is as ever worthy of record- but also remind us of the duties of stewardship.  

The wide expanses of the West still encourage contemplation, still offer hope. Rather than celebrating the exploitation of the land, today’s artists are concerned with preserving it.

-D. Scott Patria
Curator


Adam Bateman - smokestack

Adam Bateman

Something fundamental to being American is travel through the landscape —this takes the form of immigration, hiking, road trips,and national park tourism. By driving across the country we recreate the action of the westward expansion of the pioneeers.” Yet, his works address our use of technology as modifiers for the actual experience. more

Alex Bernstein

I feel as if I am a explorer. With each piece I make I prepare for a journey, never knowing where the path will lead me. I am sure to gain knowledge, breakthroughs and insight which is the excitement that brings me to my studio every day. more
Latchezar Boyadjiev - Breakthrough Latchezar Boyadjiev

The main focus of my work is to create dynamic shapes supported by sensual lines that will gradually evolve from an idea on paper to a sculpture in glass - and combined with light it will have a powerful impact on the viewer. more
Peter Bremers - Wind's Lament - cast glass

Peter Bremers

We see the natural world as something separate from ourselves; exploit its gifts without restraint for economic gain, and by doing so turn it from an age-old friend into a hostile force. We show little trace of gratitude and seem to forget that we are ourselves an intricate part of nature. I am not aiming to imitate or equal it, but simply to express my sense of wonder as a human being and an artist. more

Tim Conlon

Tim Conlon

... is best known for large-scale murals, graffiti art, sculpture and works on canvas. He was one of two aerosol artists featured in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s 2008 exhibition, RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture.In 2011, he was featured and curated the G scale train exhibit in the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s, Art in The Streets  survey of graffiti and street art. His Blank Canvas train paintings are in multiple collections, including the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. Conlon has recently exhibited in Washington, D.C.,Miami, Bordeaux and Berlin.
more


 

Steve Hansen Steve Hansen

In my work I attempt to address several different directions of thought simultaneously. One of the most important and overriding themes of my work since the 1990’s has been American regionalism. Ceramics in America has operated on the fringe of the “real” art world for decades, with only a couple of names (Voulkos and Aarneson) appearing in art history texts. When I finally settled on a mature style, I wanted to pay homage to my gene pool, and my sense of self, and to create works that might have been created by my grandfather using “real” license plates, angle iron, tin, and bits of leftover plumbing. more
Manabu Hasegawa

Manabu Hasegawa

Hasegawa creates real to life three-dimensional works using pencil and paper. With the theme of ‘weapons’ pistols and automatic rifles are displayed as if they are in a gun shop. One of the attractions of these works is that they look both three-dimensional and also like a flat picture.

The insides are hollow so the serious atmosphere associated with them being weapons is only superficial. If you imagine crushing them you realize that they would smash into pieces in one go. Because the fragility of Hasegawa’s artwork it is fleeting one cannot help but feel affection for it. more

Shawn Huckins - Wurd Shawn Huckins

Huckins was first introduced to painting after inheriting his grandmother’s oil painting set at the age of nine.  As an adult, it has taken a route through studies in architecture and film, plus a stint living on the other side of the world, for him to gravitate back towards painting.  Since graduating from Keene State College with a degree in the Studio Arts, Huckins has taken inspiration from 18th Century American Neo-Classical painters to 20th Century Pop artists and preoccupied his work with a contemporary discourse on American culture. more

George Kozman George Kozmon

Images of landscapes affect us for both physical and phychological reasons; they evoke genetically encoded instincts that we rarely think of. They are the providers of the heritage of human nbeeds, though they also contain threats; threats of violent uphevals, storms, fire, floods and most of all, a reminder of humans' fragility and vulnerability. We aren't always at the top of the food chain. Landscapes remind us of where we came from.
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Dan Lydersen - Where the Buffalo Roamed Dan Lydersen

My recent paintings are a reconciliation between past and present, particularly in regard to Western culture’s notions of spirituality and the relationship between society and nature. Drawing from a variety of contemporary and historical sources, from the Renaissance to modern cinema, literature and popular culture, the paintings are an attempt to come to terms with the present through the immediate marriage of today’s visual culture with that of the past. Both theatrical and satirical, comical and somber, the paintings pose a view of humanity that is steeped in the existential turmoil that lies between materiality and spirituality, where society trudges persistently forward into the future while the human search for meaning and purpose as mortal animals remains unresolved. more

Paco Pomet - self Portrait, inspector

Paco Pomet

Artist Paco Pomet who lives and works in Grenada, Spain subverts vintage vacation photos and historical landscapes in his surreal oil paintings. He possesses a wonderfully bizarre sense of humor that manifests itself in his oil paintings which contain a humorous visual twist–and yet they’re staged in such a way that the viewer can imagine the scene actually taking place in some strange alternate version of our past. There is a parallel to traditional Western Art, mixed with a monochrome effect that restates the documentary character of the original piece. more

Kent Rogowski - Love

Kent Rogowski

Kent Rogowski is an artist/photographer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Kent’s works are often provocative and whimsical manipulations of objects and images that surround us in our daily lives. From teddy bears to jigsaw puzzles and self help books, he uses and alters mass-produced consumer products as a vehicle for self expression. By transforming the generic into something personal, Kent questions what these products communicate, and also what role they play in our culture. more

Kent Rogowski is an artist/photographer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Kent’s works are often provocative and whimsical manipulations of objects and images that surround us in our daily lives. From teddy bears to jigsaw puzzles and self help books, he uses and alters mass-produced consumer products as a vehicle for self expression. By transforming the generic into something personal, Kent questions what these products communicate, and also what role they play in our culture.

- See more at: http://www.kentrogowski.com/bioresume/#sthash.Ia7VXNlS.dpuf

Kent Rogowski is an artist/photographer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Kent’s works are often provocative and whimsical manipulations of objects and images that surround us in our daily lives. From teddy bears to jigsaw puzzles and self help books, he uses and alters mass-produced consumer products as a vehicle for self expression. By transforming the generic into something personal, Kent questions what these products communicate, and also what role they play in our culture.

- See more at: http://www.kentrogowski.com/bioresume/#sthash.Ia7VXNlS.dpuf

Kent Rogowski is an artist/photographer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Kent’s works are often provocative and whimsical manipulations of objects and images that surround us in our daily lives. From teddy bears to jigsaw puzzles and self help books, he uses and alters mass-produced consumer products as a vehicle for self expression. By transforming the generic into something personal, Kent questions what these products communicate, and also what role they play in our culture.

- See more at: http://www.kentrogowski.com/bioresume/#sthash.Ia7VXNlS.dpuf
Geoffry Smalley - Hog Geoffry Smalley

A passion for sports is, on its surface, one without purpose. Just listen to a half hour of any sports talk show and you will walk away with thoughts. But to understand the history of American team sports is to understand our national development. From our rural, agrarian beginnings comes baseball: originally played during the day, on a “field”, tethered to the elements, with no clock, rife with personal failure, overcome. Out of the Industrial Revolution came football. The synchronicity of specialized moving parts, the restrictions of performing tasks within a time limit, the taking of land by force-a blithe reflection of a nation at work and at war. The post-industrial era saw a rise in the popularity of basketball. Free-formed and creative, individualism within a collaborative scheme, stripped of gear and protection and played at a continuous pace. The “big three”American sports are, at their core, representations of our past and so they embody our parochial and national allegiances, and in part define our ethos.
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Tracy R. Stuckey - Living Room Tracy R. Stuckey

My paintings operate in a fictitious world that utilizes the mythologies and realities of the modern American West. Because of its unique history, the Western United States is more than just a location, it is a label, a persona and most importantly a cultural identity. The word “Western” is a category, it is used to describe films, literature, music, art, and fashion. In my work I use the cowboy and cowgirl and other stereotypical Western themes coupled with pop cultural depictions of the region to reflect my own interpretations of the contemporary West. I am interested in historian Michael Johnson’s phrase, the “Ralphlaurenization” of the iconic West and its characters. more
Daniella Turrin - cowboy Daniella Turrin

Her work takes an almost forensic look at childhood. Drawing inspiration from the beautifully detailed and curious natural history illustrations created by 19th century German biologist, Ernst Haeckel, Daniela’s prints explore the adult’s instinctive impulse to analyse, preserve and catalogue aspects of childhood. Haeckel’s scientific plates presented the natural world to an enquiring Victorian audience with an unprecedented sense of aesthetic beauty and order - to some eyes, perhaps, taking excessive artistic licence to the serious study of zoology. Likewise, Daniela’s curious collection of “deadly-playthings”, presages the realities to come but at the same time expresses a longing to delicately catalogue and preserve the innocence and beauty of childhood imaginings. more
Joe Wardwell - Stupid Fucking Words Joe Wardwell

... is interested in the historic link between landscape painting and the shaping of national identity, a lineage that can be traced back to the early imperial advocates of Manifest Destiny and the Hudson River School. Today, this sentiment is seen in advertisements where rugged terrain is a stand-in for American-ness. By conflating a 19th century painting style—made famous by landscape painters Thomas Cole, Frederic Erwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt—with the lyrics of American music, Wardwell creates a singular vision of contemporary America. more

 


New Visions of the West from Artus Magnus on Vimeo.


PATRAJDAS Contemporary celebrates creative excellence in contemporary fine art, objects and design. We are focused on conceptual, rigorous, innovative, and serious work, and are committed to nurturing the achievements and evolution of emerging, mid-career, and established contemporary artists in all media. The gallery embraces the artist who challenges conventional expectation in concept or design yet excels in formality, technical expertise, craftsmanship, and originality.

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PATRAJDAS Contemporary
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