Friday, February 5, 2016
Depicting the West
The Scottsdale Museum of the West has a huge collection of art works on various themes. One set of paintings (and bronzes) told the story of the Lewis & Clark 1804 expeditions through the uncharted west to find a trade route to the Pacific Ocean. Several of the men on the expedition kept journals of the trip describing what they saw, people they met and the perils along the way. 200 years after the event, artist Charles Fritz used those journals to create works of art telling the story. The above photo is of a painting called "We Proceed On". The artist states that throughout the journals the words "we proceed on" appeared many times indicating the drive to keep going and continue their mission. He painted this image to represent that spirit to press on.
This painting is called "Descending the Grand Falls of the Columbia" and it shows what looks to me like the perilous way it was necessary to lower the boats down the falls. These must have been some pretty tough and determined people. I could never have stood on that rock between rushing waters waiting for a boat to be lowered down to me.
No museum about the west would be complete without some Native American influence in the art. This painting titled "Caught Between Two Worlds" by John Moyers of Albuquerque New Mexico has that influence. In this painting, Moyers is displaying how indigenous cultures are now living in an increasingly diverse and transforming world.
Moyer is a member of Cowboy Artists of America and the museum is showing and exhibition of artwork from all 77 members of the group.
This last painting was a favorite of mine. I loved the simplicity of it as well as the intensity. It's a painting by Bev Doolittle and the only thing in this painting that reminded me of a Bev Doolittle painting was the horse. To see some of Bev Doolittle's work and compare for yourself, click here.
I cropped the photo above down to just the painting so you could see the image more clearly. The man sitting by his campfire is reaching for his rifle because he hears something and it appears the horse hears it too. The title of this piece is "Unknown Presence".
Tomorrow I'll end with a view of the sculpture garden at this museum.