Desert Caballeros Western Museum

photos by John Hazeltine

Wickenburg, AZ



Rising Stars 2000 -- Western Artists Worth Watching

September 16 - October 29, 2000


This annual exhibition and sale will spotlight the finest painters and sculptors now emerging in the field of Western Art.

The idea for Rising Stars 2000 grew out of a basic observation: emerging art collectors often invest in the works of emerging artists. At the heart of this assumption were some obvious parallels: New collectors tend to have limited knowledge of art, preferring to begin their collecting with more affordable works. And, emerging artists with newer reputations tend to sell their works at lower prices. This puts the new collectors who are willing to educate themselves in the desirable position of finding great art at good prices.

With these principles in mind, Desert Caballeros Western Museum has organized a new exhibition and sale called Rising Stars. The first annual event will showcase eight emerging painters and sculptors from across the West. To select these rising stars, Museum staff drew upon the expertise of Susan Hallsten McGarry, independent art consultant from Santa Fe, NM, Danny Medina of Art Talk magazine, Scottsdale, AZ, and Margaret Brown, Editor, Southwest Art, Houston, TX. This year's featured artists include: Carolos Barela of Taos, NM, Jimmy Dyer of Granbury, TX, Lisa Gordon of Santa Fe, NM, K. Henderson of Muskogee, OK, Grant Redden of Lyman, WY, Laura Robb of Taos, NM, Victoria Taylor-Gore of Canyon, TX and Seth Winegar of Bountiful, UT.

Spread throughout the exhibition, Susan McGarry's guest commentary will reveal why the experts believe these eight artists are destined for major careers. It will help visitors sharpen the eye, cultivate knowledge, and teach some of the secrets of spotting good art and emerging artists.

Carols Barela, Taos, NM, comes from a family of carvers. He has studied his grandfather, Patrocinio Barela's, work intimately, often lecturing about it. Taking the expressive strength of this grandfather's work as a guide, Carols is a 21st century santero (carver of saints) creating bultos (carvings) in the tradition of the past but with a personal point of view that comes from the heart. And in his case, a heart, carved somewhere on the sculpture, is also his signature.

Jimmy Dyer, Granbury, TX, wherever his travels take him, Dyer paints what he knows, what he sees and what he feels. It is a very potent combination. Addressing a variety of subjects, from landscapes to figural work and still lifes, his paintings exude his personal attraction to situations where "life is stripped of its fluff.There is a spiritual quality to people who live close to the land," he says. Dyer's paintings remind us that there is perfection in this world if you have the courage to look for it, the willingness to accept it and the heart to share it.

Lisa Gordon, Santa Fe, NM, for Lisa the horse is both a lifetime companion as well as a means for actualizing her ideas. Raised in southern California where she rode and trained her own horses, Gordon, even as a youngster, began to see the animals as symbols of a changing way of life. As suburbs mushroomed in her neighborhood, one stable after another closed. The encroachment of "civilization" on the freedom of horses became a catalyst for illustrating Gordon's own precarious journey. Soon, she says, the horse became a "tangible bridge between me and the viewer." To illustrate that tension she sculpts horses in seemingly illogical situations with objects "that are not geometrically sound."

K. Henderson, Muskogee, OK, whose studio is in her grandmother's house, is both the recipient as well as a transmitter of the Plains Indian cultures as they underwent abundance and decimation during the transition from Indian to White America. For those of us today, Henderson, who is of Cherokee descent, conveys a reverence for the past that reminds us of our obligations to the future. Her paintings often begin with the titles. For this show, she created a series drawn from the Bible, intoning not Christian mores but universal concepts.

Grant Redden, Lyman, WY, is one of those painters who has taken Monet's admonition that you don't draw the elements in nature, you see them as patches color, darkened or lightened by the amount of light falling upon them. Drawing upon the counsel of mentors the likes of Jim Norton, Gerald Fritzler and Walt Gonske, Redden takes his oil paints out into the landscape where he sets himself up to evaluate every subtlety and nuance that presents itself to him. The sparkle of light that arrests your vision and lives on in your memory is what you see in Reddens paintings and remarkably, his paintings retain that freshness no matter how many times you see them.

Laura Robb, Taos, NM, is a good example of how reputations begin locally, then blossom regionally. She had been successfully exhibiting for a dozen years in her home state of Oklahoma when she moved to New Mexico in 1986. "No one had heard of me in Taos," she recalls. A few years later, however, Robb established herself as one of the Southwest's premier alla prima painters in the tradition of John Singer Sargent. The first thing you notice about Robb's work is the energy of her surfaces. Spontaneity and exuberance, dancing flecks of pure pigment, swathes of color mixed on the canvas and applied with feathered edges or assertive strokes deliver a visual feast that is so compelling you almost don't care what the brushwork describes.

Victoria Taylor-Gore, Canyon, TX, working with pastels, Taylor-Gore is in love with details! But she isn't content to just drop them into her scenarios. No, she weaves her stylized objects together like a mystery novel, illuminating them with eerie lights, showing them to us from odd angles, and purposefully making them ambiguous in placement. Is that a picture or a window? Did someone forget that red high-heeled shoe or is she wearing its mate around the corner? Paths of light from sunsets, moon rises, light fixtures, candles or brightly burning hearths capture our attention and fuel our imaginations. "It's always more fun for people to put the pieces together in their own minds - like a movie," she explains.

Seth Winegar, Bountiful, UT, his luminescent images are inspired by the landscape around his home in Utah, but they could be anywhere, any time. Simplified to basic elements, the images often reflect times of ambiguity -- dawn, dusk or moonlight, when light is fugitive and color and forms are unified by a dominant hue to tone. Eschewing grandiose epics of nature, Winegar gravitates to flat marshy landscapes, quiet water and gently rolling fields, defined by rows of dark trees. Although he is a young artist, Winegar paints with an old soul, perhaps because his mortality is more evident to him than what most of us experience. Suffering from cystic fibrosis, Winegar is keenly aware of every breath he intakes. The gift of life is apparent in each of his paintings, adding a touch of reverie to the sense of eternity that exudes from his muted colors and dry, thin paint that lets under-layers show through, including the canvas where beginning meets end.

For viewers wishing more in-depth exposure to the principles of collecting good art, Guest Curator Susan McGarry will offer an instructional seminar, "How to catch a Rising Star," on September 16, 2000 from 12:00 noon until 2:00 PM. The seminar fee is $30 and includes a light lunch, admission to the museum, and a chance to refine skills with the experts. Seating is limited. For reservations, call DCWM Education Programs at 520.684.2272, ext 110.

All art patrons and aspiring patrons are invited to meet the artists at the gala opening and sale on September 16, 5:30 PM until 7:30 PM. The works of these artists will remain on sale for the duration of the exhibit.

Read more about the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2011 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.