Pennsylvania painters earn
spots in elite art show in L.A.
John Fawcett, 'Ceremony of the Horse Mask,' oil, 40 inches by 60 inches
Jan. 30, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
essence of the American West in artwork requires an appreciation for
patriotism, community, family and nature.
Pennsylvania residents considered among the best of this genre are
joining others for an annual show dedicated to the art form.
The Autry National
Center's 17th annual “Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition
and Sale” includes works by John Buxton of Allison Park, Robert Griffing
of Gibsonia and John Fawcett of Abbottstown, Adams County. The event
runs from Feb. 1 to March 16.
“It's a hugely
popular show,” says Amy Scott, curator of visual arts at the Autry in
Los Angeles. “With people knowing they just have six weeks to see it, it
definitely pulls them in.”
exhibition and sale features 82 artists. It attracts about 20,000
visitors each year.
Buxton, who has
three pieces in the show, has participated in the Masters for nine
years. His featured work includes the oil-on-linen pieces “A Brief Delay
at the Wall,” “At the Gardens” and “Libation Time.”
“It's a great honor
to be invited and a great honor to have your pieces exhibited next to
the best artists in the country,” he says.
friend Griffing has two featured pieces, including an 8-inch by 10-inch
piece titled “Defined by His Ancestors,” as well as a 40-inch by 60-inch
oil called “The Introduction.” The latter is based on a letter written
by Miss Anne Powell during her visit to Fort Niagara in May 1785, which
details her experience meeting “a chief of distinction.”
“He spoke English
with propriety,” Powell wrote, “and returned all the compliments paid
him with ease and politeness. As he was not only the handsomest but the
best dressed man around.”
Griffing set the
introduction in a dinner scene with dramatic lighting, the chief
standing and taking the hand of the seated woman as others look on.
“A lot of stories
are coming about from things people have in their family records that
have never been published,” says Griffing, who has participated in the
show for 12 years. “Just in the last 10 years, a lot is coming to
Fawcett has four
pieces in the show, the largest of which is “Ceremony of the Horse Mask”
at 40 inches by 60 inches. The artist was inspired by the Plains
Indians' belief that horse masks helped protect the animal and rider on
a spiritual level during battle. The piece shows a tribe elder blessing
a mask as other members watch.
interested in the story and the history that goes with a piece,” says
Fawcett, a former veterinarian.
New artists joining
the Masters this year include Jeremy Lipking and Dustin Van Wechel.
Six guest artists
will be welcomed this year: John Budicin, John Cosby, Lori Forest, Lynn
Gertenbach, Conchita O'Kane and Brittany Weistling.
artists have ties to southwestern Pennsylvania. Walter Matia has shown
work at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Ligonier. Artist Dean
Mitchell was born in Pittsburgh, then raised in Quincy, Fla. His four
featured pieces depict a more contemporary look at the West, including
his 20-inch by 30-inch watercolor “Pima Maricopa Neighborhood,”
featuring a modern-day Indian community.
“I was struck by
the poverty,” says Mitchell, now of Tampa, Fla. “It reminded me of the
rural south. There are a lot of similarities.”
appreciates the Masters show for the opportunity it presents for artists
to interact with collectors.
“The way they put
the show together is truly impeccable,” he says. “The people who come
are very loyal to the artists.”