Spring in the Desert: Billy Schenck, Robert Townsend and Dennis Ziemienski

20 March - 1 April 2017, Scottsdale
Artist Reception: March 23, 6:30-9pm
Billy Schenck, Four-Mile Flats
Dennis Ziemienski, Santa Rita Blossoms
Robert Townsend, Gunslinger

Spring in the Desert | Scottsdale, Az


Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to welcome three top artists in the Photo Realist and Contemporary Western genres. "Spring in the Desert" celebrates the best of both worlds. Western depictions are punched up with modern styling and high impact color and drama.  Masterfully painted photo-realist watercolors and oils highlight  fun, mid-century subjects. 


Robert Townsend brings every day subjects to life with his pop-photo realist style. Billy Schenck's famous "caption" paintings bring sharp wit to his pop-western narratives, and Dennis Ziemienski's bold color draws you in, his paintings celebrating subjects fitting to the shows' theme of "Spring in the Desert". 


Meet the artists and experience all that "Spring in the Desert" has to offer at the show reception on Thursday, March 23, from 6:30-9pm.



To be placed on the preview list email az@altamiraart.com or call 480-949-1256. 



Artist Biographies

Billy Schenck has been known internationally for the past four decades as one of the originators of the contemporary "Pop" western movement.

Early in his career, Schenck became known for utilizing cinematic imagery, reproduced in a flattened, reductivist style, where colors are displayed side-by-side rather than blended or shadowed. His art incorporates techniques from Photo-Realism and Pop Art to both praise and mimic classic western images. His work is characterized by hot colors, surreal juxtapositions and patterning which explore clashes between wilderness and civilization, the individual and community, nature and culture, freedom and restriction.


In the mid-1970's, the work exemplified in his paintings drew him west, where he split his time between Wyoming and Arizona. He now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work can be found in numerous major collections throughout the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, Denver Art Museum, The Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Booth Western Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, and many more. Schenck’s work has been the subject of four museum retrospectives, including The West as It Never Was, at the Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art.


The 2013 illustrated book, Schenck in the 21st Century: The Myth of the Hero and the Truth of America, by Amy Abrams, features paintings, caption drawings and caption paintings produced by Schenck from 2000-2012. A book of his serigraphs, Bill Schenck: Serigraphs 1971-1996, was published in 2010 in conjunction with a touring retrospective of the same title.



Robert Townsend was born in Downey, California in 1974. He paints highly finished images of the icons of an American Pop mythology. His unfailing eye for color and texture produce a vision of America's material culture that vacillates between nostalgia for what is lost and optimism for the continuation of American ingenuity. 


Townsend's aesthetic draws heavily from his California upbringing and life in Los Angeles. Townsend lives and works out of an industrial warehouse turned artist complex known as the Los Angeles Brewery. Formerly home to Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, the sprawling building was converted into artist lofts, and is now one of the oldest and largest art colonies in the world. 


Citing American painters Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Bechtle as primary influences, Townsend's work is a mixture of pop, photo-realism, surrealism and representational interpretations of largely mid-century subject matter. His exceptional technical ability is complemented by a painterly approach to color and design, with occasional whimsical elements adding a playfulness to his skillfully crafted watercolors and oils. 


Robert's work is in collections including: the Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA; The Getty Family, CA; The Frederick Weisman R. Art Foundation; Beverly Hills, CA; Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. His work has appeared in in national publications including American Art Collector Magazine (issues 16, 40 and 67)  and Southwest Art, May 2007. 



Dennis Ziemienski was born in 1947 in San Francisco, CA. He graduated cum laude from the California College of Arts & Crafts in 1972. Ziemienski juxtaposes the classic cowboy life with the increasing influence of Modernism.  The scenes in his work accurately depict Western life at the beginning of the last century when railroads, vehicles, motels, and rodeos began to dominate the western landscape.  “I like that period of time because it hasn’t been well recorded,” Ziemienski said.  “You don’t see a lot of paintings of cowboys sitting in Model T Fords. But they did – and right alongside their horses.”


Ziemienski has had studios in California and New York. Traveling to Europe frequently, he has acquired an affinity for the architecture, lifestyle and light of the Mediterranean. His strong and richly colored images borrow much of their inspiration from early 20th century paintings and posters.


Dennis has won numerous awards and has had commissions by Time-Life, Levi-Strauss, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, in addition to Super Bowl XXIX, the 2006 Kentucky Derby, and the Sonoma Salute to the Arts. Churchill Downs selected Ziemienski as the Official Artist of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. His painting ‘Tall Drink of Water’ was added to the Whitney Western Art Museum’s collection as the recipient of the William E. Weiss Purchase Award at the 2015 Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale.