An exploration of line
A life spent with horses. A career painting their strong grace. A decade coursing their contours in red. All the Red Horses and a Hummingbird marks a milestone for September Vhay: Within this gathering of new canvases lives her 100th red horse—a series that began as a gesture of play amid pain. While visiting a friend at the Seattle Hospital, Vhay ducked outside to spend a moment with a Deborah Butterfield bronze horse. In her sketchbook, she scribbled a tiny homage to the mighty work: a loose study of equine essence. Soon after, she began her holiday ritual of painting cards for Crane Creek Graphics—the only time she incorporates red into her otherwise muted palette. Beguiled by the miniature horse sketch, she tried a version in the holiday hue, letting muscle memory guide her brush. In crimson, the small study emerged emphatic: a feng-shui blending of equine traits (power, strength, grace) with the qualities associated with red (passion, fame, dynamism, assertiveness). When fused, the red horses deliver “a double dose of empowerment,” felt by both the painter and the patron, as evidenced in the instantaneous sales of those first works.
the complexity of the Wild West
Thom Ross paints from the complexity of the Wild West. Through the freeze that finds most people blind to the layers of history. His compositions hold lived contradictions tight and true, never resolved as they so often appear in romanticized reflection. His heroes are real and fallible, weighted by conflict and complicity. For Ross, history is defined by those figures whose actions transcend reality to become mythical. Like the infamous characters involved in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. By his hand, no one comes out clean: not the eight players for the Chicago White Sox who took bribes to throw the World Series; not the gamblers and the sportswriters who fed the frenzy; not the owners who ignored grievances.
LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE
“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better,”
Mary Roberson abides by Einstein’s advice. She looks deeply at nature—the world that awaits just beyond her door in Hailey, Idaho—and then channels what she learns into layers of paint. Thus considering herself a conduit, she lets her subjects find her. “Wildlife chooses me, not the other way around,” she says. A morning spent watching a tanager frolic in her front yard becomes a sunny appearance in a larger composition.
Openings for alternative perspectives
Dennis Ziemienski scans historical images for the cracks, the openings for alternative perspectives. Within these moments, he splices contemporary insight. Storms become more dramatic, canyons deepen with shadows and people convey character—both complicated and stoic
Forging a connection with the place in which he stands
The season: Autumn.
The setting: A luminous aspen stand in Grand Mesa National Forest in western Colorado.
The scene: A solo walk.
The sensation: Total immersion in the forest, in the cascade of color as falling leaves whispered of time passing—heartbreaking sentinels of seasonal shift.
The witness: David Grossmann.
Landscape as a reference
Jared Sanders uses the landscape as reference, not subject matter. Traveling by car, he lets scenes wash over his consciousness, registering line, shape and color from the constant stream of visual stimuli available on the road. Back in the studio, parked and present, he lets those essential elements resolve themselves into compositions that feel both transcendent and specific: barns made iconic by the rolling fields that surround them, a limitless desert sky grounded in sage, a sunrise dappled by snow and bovine silhouettes. Through his meditative practice, the paved promise of Western roadways reads as calm conduits for communion with place.
Once upon a time, California artist Robert Townsend bought some slides on eBay . . .
Once upon a time, California artist Robert Townsend bought some slides on eBay, hoping to find the Americana scenes he paints in his hyperrealist style. Thus begins the heartwarming story of a contemporary painter who discovered far more than material inspiration: he found his muse—a woman who lived her life in full-color Kodachrome. And the more he learned about Helen, the louder the call became to spend the next two decades of his life painting her life—her marriage, her travels, her panache and her personality. “Helen will keep him busy for years,” says her surviving niece Cheryl. “He just has to follow the trail.”
Echoes Of History
Altamira Fine Art Jacksonis pleased to present the gallery's first exhibition for contemporary artist Ashley Collins. Collins has made a journey from homelessness, to becoming one of the top female contemporary painters in America, with work in prominent collections world-wide. She recently joined Georgia O’Keeffe by being inducted into the prestigious Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
A Decade Of Dedication
This summer, Altamira Fine Art celebrates a decade of dedication:
- To our talented stable of artists—all visionaries devoted to revealing the layered West.
- To our loyal collectors—all connoisseurs of true expression.
- To connecting these two groups via a shared love of contemporary Western art.
Together we trailblaze, nurturing and expanding the Western genre by finding the most articulate and modern artists working today in this distinctive part of the world and the market.
"Every Good Painter Paints What He Is"
If, as Jackson Pollock said, “Every good painter paints what he is,” then Billy Schenck is a man of fiery juxtaposition. Consider the characters he communes with in his latest foray, a Teton travelogue: there’s Edith Sargent, serenading settlers in the buff atop a horse blanket; there’s Jaws, now retired in Jackson Lake yet no less rapacious; and there’s the only-in-the-Tetons pony express-turned-UPS guy, scaling Mount Moran to deliver a saddle.
Studies in graphic abstraction
Carbon plus paper: the simple equation that yields a charcoal drawing; the simple equation that September Vhay makes transcendent in her summer exhibition, Essence. By her hand, a leopard appaloosa becomes a massive study in graphic abstraction, each spot a meditation on shape and subtlety. Dark patches, the result of pressing hard on the page, send sprays of charcoal down the paper, scatterings she leaves as subtle evidence of her process.Sans color, the paint horse becomes a homage to composition and value—formal characteristics often overshadowed by their flashy counterparts, color and subject. Not by Vhay: She bears witness to the episodes in nature when expression and composition come into immaculate, ephemeral alignment. As they did in an alfalfa field on her parents’ ranch in Nevada: Vhay watched, through her telephoto lens, as two mule deer fawns frolicked after their mother.
Translating the essence of nature
David Michael Slonim hopes Altamira will become a calm visual oasis in the presence of Wavelength, his new exhibition opening May 21 and running through June 2. True to its title, this collection of new paintings explores the communicative potential of art—both in practice and in presentation—how art can translate the essence of nature.