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Everett Ruess and the Search for Beauty
November 10 - December 17, 2006
Everett Ruess and the Search for Beauty, an exhibit of 26 Ruess woodblock prints and accompanying writings opens November 10, for a five-week showing through December 17, 2006 at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. (left: Everett Ruess, Granite and Cypress, woodblock print)
Ruess was a young artist and writer who wandered the wilds of the Southwest and mysteriously disappeared in the Escalante Canyons in 1934, at the age of twenty. His travels on the southern Colorado Plateau earned this itinerant artist local notoriety. When he mysteriously vanished in Davis Gulch, outside the small town of Escalante, his burros were found near his camp, but his fate was unknown. Ruess became a larger-than-life romantic legend and a symbol of the wilderness he revered.
The love and respect Ruess felt for the places he roamed were expressed in his poems and essays, as well as in the images he carved for his precious block prints. He would trade or sell these prints to the occasional tourist and passerby to help pay his way for himself and his burros. Thus, the few extra dollars brought him to another vista, and eventually to another piece of art. His wanderlust and his art became inseparable.
Ruess's woodblock prints and writings have captivated many and inspired them to seek out remote corners of the region, in their own search for beauty and the peace that can be found in the rugged, sandstone canyons and open spaces of Plateau country. This collection spans the last five years of Ruess's short life, from the age of fifteen to twenty. His work portrays a variety of scenic landscapes from his travels along the California coast, high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in the deserts and canyons of Utah and Arizona.
More than 70 years later, these images still speak to us with vigor and force, chronicling the evolution of a maturing talent, fully capable of capturing nature in bold and simple terms. Ruess sought artistic advice from well-known artists of his day: landscape painter Maynard Dixon, and photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Edward Weston, and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, popular in the early twentieth century.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Utah Arts Council (www.arts.utah.gov/) and is co-curated by MNA Guest Curator of Fine Art Alan Petersen. Additional information about Ruess can be found at www.everettruess.net.
The Museum offers two public programs in conjunction with Everett Ruess and the Search for Beauty. Both programs take place at the Museum and are included with admission.
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