JERRY GOROSKI is the consultant appraisar to whom I refer inquiries about Scriver bronzes. He is formally trained and certified to do assessments and knew Bob Scriver as well as working for the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls. His gallery is called "Open Range Art."


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Southwest Art Magazine, October, 2005

Hey! A whole story about café art -- not art to hang in cafes, but art painted in and of cafes, though it appears that some artists take photos to paint from. Six different artists to compare! I love it!

First, all are people sitting at tables. No still-lifes of place settings, no lingeriing couples in doorways, no waitresses slumped with exhaustion, no strange angles. One is a woman at a counter and you can see the cooks in the background. One appears to be a man relaxed enough to put his bare foot on the table -- there is a bar in the background. Three are in Europe. Maybe.

Pam Powell’s painting is near superrealistic and was posed. In fact, several variants were posed, but this one is a “James Dean” type in a black leather jacket with a bunch of gladiolas in front of him on the table for two. He’s in the window, looking out across a plaza where the shadows are long, and maybe the low sun is getting in his face. Naw. He’s worried. Who’s he waiting for? The floor-to-ceiling window says (wrongside out) “Center for the Arts.” Is he an artist or a model? (Clearly, he modeled for this!) Powell admires Hopper, but this is more story than Hopper usually gives us.

Victor Arnold’s cafe is in Europe -- brick arch on the doorway, bentwood cafe chairs, Euro-looking hats. The sketching is almost cubist in it’s angularity, color is paintbox primaries: apple green, apple red. He says he likes the people talking, interacting, but these four are not. The picture is dominated by the composition.

Annie Dover’s picture came from a photo in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, a place of experiment and cruising. A dark shape, round-headed, occupies the lower left corner, and a young woman sits on a stool with only condiments in front of her. The writing behind her on a sign is the lower part of “Market” and a blackboard that says “As Heard on NPR,” “New York Times” and “Financial...” This is evidently what’s in her head -- typical Seattle liberal sources and worries. But in between the market sign and the blackboard is a little sign that says in block letters, “BELIEVE.” What can it mean? Dover herself thinks the woman is going to hook up with Mr. Roundhead. My advice would be to concentrate on the busy and solid-looking cooks, one wearing a t-shirt that says “City” with a big fish, the other in a billed cap. Under the blackboard is a small painting that might be a meadow or a shore. Something romantic. Seattle is an urban mystery, a port city. The woman looks vulnerable.

Jim Beckner’s cafe is a night scene and the people have wine in front of them. The floor-to-ceiling windows are black and the brushwork is vague, almost screened or fibrous. The interior reflects slightly in the windows. No one is alone, but faces are averted, pensive, pulled into groups, intimate. This is Denver and the cafe might be Potager. Beckner has been commissioned to create a series of paintings about downtown Denver to hang in a new Hyatt hotel.

Linda McCall painted the man with his bare foot on the table. He seems to be in a kind of banquette with a low table in front of him. There is a bottle. He’s an older man, bald, sunglasses. Sun floods in on him sideways, but does not reach a man standing with his back to the bar -- also bald with sunglasses, but seeming younger. The light and dark patterns are rounded, almost blobby, hard to interpret. Far in the back is the glimmer of windows. Directly behind the seated older man is a post and his banquette is clearly black leather. McCall says she likes intrigue and mystery. If the young man in the first painting is waiting for a girl, who is this man waiting for? What will he give that person? Is the man at the bar a spy? This must be Europe.

Karen Horne’s autumn twilight diners are in Italy -- or maybe not. She lives in Salt Lake City. Do they have nice places to eat outdoors in Salt Lake City? There is no wine on the tables. Two bare-armed women are in the foreground. They are not brooding or conspiring. In fact, they seem a little tired after a long day of work or shopping. The rich amber of the trees matches the t-shirt of one woman and the hair of the other. That dark yellow, plus lemon yellow on a roof, play against the amethyst ground. In the distance is green foliage, a little darkened and grayed out by the setting sun. Dark shadow takes the lower-left-hand corner, but there is no person there.

I greatly enjoyed this little series of pictures by six artists.


On p. 4 is an ad for Donna Howell-Sickles. She gave a speech at the C.M. Russell Auction in Great Falls a few years ago and really blew me away. The paintings seem like jolly dance events where her animals participate with her, the cowgirl. But there’s always much more to it than that, because she paints out of a personal mythology, a story that is partly just her and partly classical stuff. In this painting she seems to be trying to calm and separate five horses, while her dog helps. Up in the top right hand corner is a triangle with a horse “behind bars,” red corral bars, in fact. It’s rather like a thought balloon with a picture in it instead of words. Maybe a threat! The title is “Boys Will be Boys.”

On p. 117 is another Howell-Sickles: “The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon.” Maybe you know about the ancient frescoes that show temple maidens leaping over bulls. Here you go!

On p. 83 is another heavily symbolic painting, but I don’t like it. Maybe you do. I don’t like the fox.

On page 84, the very next page, is Charlie Burk’s painting of NOTHING. Just grass. But it grows on ya. Maybe it’s even symbolic. I once gave a sermon about nothing but grass. (No, not THAT kind. It’s an herb.)

On p. 21 is a totally unexpected “hand painted dressing screen by Joseph Lorusso.” It’s two-sided, three-paneled, and meant to as a shield from eyes while changing clothes. One side shows a tailor shop with one woman holding a dress against herself, a tailor measuring a second woman, and a third woman adjusting her hair as she stands with three headless dummies. The other side is supposed to show two seamstresses and the “tailor at work.” it’s bright, intriguing, and totally original. I’ve been wishing for a screen. What a great thing to have!

On p. 38 is a gorgeous landscape by Ron Rencher -- a pale moon above pale knife-edge mountains and in the foreground darkening sage and greasewood. Below that are a pair of Sherry Salari Sander mountain lions. There has been discussion about her including more and more of the environment with her figures of animals, and she has done that very well here. One lion is stretched out along a fallen snag which juts over the other dozing on a rock ledge. Maybe it’s this issue that shows mountain goats in craggy rocks. (Not.) She gets the “echo” of the shapes beautifully and shows the fittingness of animal to habitat.

In the northeast states there has always been a tradition of “women in white,” and I own (somewhere) a desk calendar that is compiled of Sargent and Cassett, et al, paintings of 19th century women in white dresses. On p. 36 are two Richard Segalmen paintings of what might be SW versions of women in white dresses. One is in a big closet or room of flounced white dresses and appears to be wearing a petticoat with straps. The other is at the beach, her very white skirt billowing under an ivory overblouse.

On p. 44 is another of those “grid” paintings, this one composed of two rows of four bust portraits of Charles Reid’s favorite artists. (I share his taste.) They are beautifully, delicately, skillful watercolor portraits and seen together, rather than individually, the impact is wonderful, delighting both eye and mind.

On p. 46 are two “yellow slicker” paintings by Craig Tennant. One is a still-life under a longhorn skull -- the cowboy in the yellow slicker is a young fellow (about five) in a painting on the shelf. Title: “Little Cowboy Dreams.” The other painting is subdued light, either night or under a roof, and the cowboy is pensively coiling his lariat. Title: “Cowboy Blues.” On p. 204 is another yellow slicker picture -- the artist is not named. He’s riding a willing horse and pulling a slow pack horse and has got himself into a push-me/pull-you situation that can’t go on too long.

On p. 56 I spot a doorway: one of those mysterious “men only” places with stairs that go up to places women never see, a refuge. This one, by Brian Slawson, is “Mull’s -- 18th & Vine.” On p. 224 is a similar building, but no signs and reduced to a graphic design. On p. 78 is the entrance to a wonderful porched home, an historic house. Pamela Panattoni is the artist. On p. 80 is the abstracted entrance to a cathedral. Interesting to compare these four.

On p.79 is one of those pickup trucks that sneak into cowboy art. This one is “Old Orange Truck” by Barbara Chenault.

Here’s an interesting sequence: On p. 95 here come three cowgirls walking straight toward the viewer. “Buckle Brigade” by J.E. Knauf. (Think J.E.’s a woman?) You could call them “Buckle Bunnies,” but the middle one is armed. On the very next page are three cowboys in chaps, walking away. “Going to the House” by Howard Post. And on the NEXT page overleaf are four cut-out desperadoes coming this way, all armed. Thom Ross’ “An Afternoon Stroll Down Fremont Street.” These guys look to be on bases so they can stand alone. Probably life-sized.

p. 126 is a whole article about Kenny Harris who has developed a unique vision of floors and doorways with light sweeping over and through -- nearly abstact and yet realistic and HIGHLY suggestive, emotional. Bravo!

p. 132. More symbolism: Wes Hempel’s surrealism. I like the one of him walking a tightrope stretched over a European masterpiece dark crashing sea into a tunnel of light in the clouds.

p. 184. You know how they say, “She put in everything but the kitchen sink?” Well, here’s a very nice stainless steel kitchen sink! Susan E. Roden. It’s a pastel. Whaddya mean there’s nuthin’ to paint?

p. 186. I keep preaching about the importance of infrastructure to the art business and here’s FIVE small jewels. Well, THEY call them “Pearls in the Sagebrush.” Woolaroc Ranch, Museum and Wildife Preserve in Bartlesville, OK; West Valley Art Museum in Surprise, AZ; Springville Museum of Art in Springville, UT; Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA; Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum, Big Horn, WY. Ask me how hard it is to keep these tiny places alive and working and I’ll start to cry.

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