Solo Exhibition | Jackson, WY
Altamira Fine Art Jackson is pleased to present a new exhibtion for Arizona artist Geoffrey Gersten.
American Westerns opens September 21st with an Artist Reception on Saturday, September 25th from 5:30-7:30pm.
For Geoffrey Gersten, the happenstance has recently shed light on the heroic. While working on a large composition of a cowboy, he printed out a photo of the underpainting at FedEx—a step he sometimes takes to gain visual perspective. Upon seeing the image of a brown wash of a silhouette—the clerk shared that his father had just passed away and left him his jacket—an authentic Marlboro Man-brand shearling from the sixties. He smiled as he shared stories of the heirloom. “It was an odd moment of connection,” Gersten recalls. Compounding the oddness, the artist returned to his studio to find the painting changed: in his absence, a droplet of paint had dried in the shape of a teardrop cascading from the rugged face. A stranger’s loss, mysteriously registered in the artist’s material rumination on the lasting symbolism of the cowboy, contradictions and all.
Weeks later, amidst moving with his new Maltipoo puppy, Gersten unpacked a wide-format art magazine that he’d been saving to read. Ever playful, the puppy began tugging on the glossy tome, tearing a page out. Gersten recovered the stolen snippet and found it read “American Westerns,” the headline of an article exploring the layered resonance of the classic novel, Shane. Spontaneous inspiration for the title of his new series of paintings.
For years, Gersten has listened to John Vanderslice’s “Song for David Berman”—the singer/songwriter’s 2013 reflection on the problematics of Western history—pausing on the penultimate line, “Massacres are disguised as battles all the time.” He knew that truth would someday filter into his art. And now it has in the form of canvases as lines of inquiry, compositions as intriguing as the song lyric itself. With his paintbrush, Gersten asks why the cowboy continues to be so appealing, in spite of his problematic history? Why does he remain so broadly captivating? He posits in paint: In this era of lost purpose, when nothing truly threatens us but our own species, the confident character speaks to our base belief in good and evil. It is in dichotomous conflict, in fighting for something and for survival. Cowboy as mythic mission, riding into the value void.
Pre-sales available. For more details contact the gallery, (307) 739-4700, firstname.lastname@example.org.