Dennis Ziemienski – “Cowgirl Brand”
Never just one Altamira artist opening a show at that gallery; two weeks ago a trio of artists kicked off the season. June 17-29th, two new shows with works by contemporary Western artists Dennis Ziemienski and Howard Post will be on exhibition.
Ziemienski’s “New Images of the Old West” and Post’s “Western Perspectives” share an opening reception at Altamira Fine Art on Thursday, June 20th, 5-8:00 pm. Works by these artists are bold; Ziemienski’s crisp, poster-bright paintings recall the best magazine advertising of bygone eras (were “Mad Men” set in the West, and the Sterling-Cooper execs living on ranches, their campaigns might look a lot like Ziemienski’s art), and Post’s Western landscapes are, as has been noted, characterized by a richly colored, contemporary impressionist style.
The West—our region, at any rate—was first discovered in part because of posters commissioned by railroad lines. These travel posters promoted new regions opening up to tourism and Ziemenski, a native San Franciscan, puts together idealistic images of cowboy life with a feel for sharp, witty modernism.
Last century’s big rush west attracts Ziemenski.
Dennis Ziemienski – “Yosemite Drive Thru”
“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. I was born in 1947. Growing up in California and taking car trips with my family allowed me to see a lot of this imagery. But by the 60’s and 70’s, I noticed that much of it was starting to fade away,” he said. “All of the things I witnessed then started to make me think that some day I would like to record those things. So now I am.”
I recently visited Laramie, a city established by the railroads. Laramie is chock full of great vintage signage–some in good shape, some not as much. But they’re there. Such signs and billboards make a native Californian’s heart leap into her throat.
Howard Post – “Western Meadows”
Post is one of my favorite Western contemporary landscape painters. “Contemporary” in the sense that he’s not exactly a realist, and he’s not exactly an “unexpected” painter. His light and compositions are poetic, translucent and depict the West’s golden light just as we imagine it when we can’t be there. Just as we imagine it when we ARE there, and want to describe it to someone who has never gazed upon it.
Post is, says the gallery, known for his unique aerial perspective that, to my mind, emphasizes Western space. Born in Tucson, that region’s special southwestern light permeates his work, no matter the subject matter.
Wherever you’re from, you bring the light with you.
Howard Post – “Riverbed”
Post was a cowboy, and when he began painting a few decades back he chose the subject he knew best: Arizona’s ranch traditions and the Arizona landscape. His hayfields are sun-drenched loaves of hot grass, basking in the late afternoon sun, thick purple and green trees in partial shadow. A suggestion of an outline surrounds many of Post’s objects, giving them volume. Post’s are landscapes you want to wake up to, go to sleep thinking about; they are ideal.
“My paintings,” says Post, “Are my visual response to the West and how I want it to be.”
Got that. www.altamiraart.com
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You thought writing haiku was challenging?
Teton County Library and Culture Front, in collaboration with the Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference, are pleased to present The Six-Word Memoir Project exhibit, debuting June 27th at the Center for the Arts. Sixty Jackson area creative types submitted six-word “snapshots” of their lives; each write up is exactly six words.