To better understand a collection of work, it helps to look at the details. Donna Howell-Sickles, Heather Foster, Veryl Goodnight, Dinah Worman, and Tanya Bone are all women artists painting western subjects and themes. However, their work falls across a broad spectrum thanks to their varying techniques and styles in their subjects, brush strokes, and use of materials. Gallery manager, Caroline Iles, shines light on the details for a better understanding of what these artists are accomplishing.
A strong draftsman, Howell-Sickles emphasizes form. In choosing to leave the pencil lines in her works, it would appear that Howell-Sickles is directing the viewer to the intimacy of the forms as they interrelate, often female figures juxtaposed to horses and dogs. The artist uses dry brush and other mediums—often charcoal, graphiteandpastel —to accentuate the feminine power of her subjects.
A close look at Dinah Worman’s work shows her mastery with a palette knife, oil paint, and color. Each stroke builds dimension, and rarely includes a single color, but rather an ethereal palette in a single swipe of the knife. Her thick application of paint builds dimension and physical shadow across the canvas. Her thickly painted canvases are also notable for the unusual perspectives and the extreme horizon (very low or very high) she often incorporates.
Using a fairly dry brush, Goodnight allows the texture of the canvas to show in the style of many 19th- and early 20th-century American tonalism. In addition to the thinly painted surfaces, her loose strokes, limited palette, soft edges and symbolic forms create a dreamy state around one precise moment. Veryl’s admiration for and understanding of working animals and ranch life come across in her work, infusing her paintings with an unmistakable realism.
Up close, Heather Foster’s paintings look like a kaleidoscope of colors, but take a few steps back, and her subjects come into clear view. Whether depicting cattle or canyons, she juxtaposes unlikely (and unnatural) colors, and employs the artistic device of chiaroscuroto contrast areas of light and shadow to create dramatic effect. Her loose brushwork and treatment of light is pure impressionism, but her technique and choices suggest a bold painter who is pushing the abstract envelope.
With the aim of honoring past traditions, realism meets impressionism on Tanya Bone’s canvases. In the tradition of American still life, Tanya Bone paints her subjects straight on, just as they are. But her palette is muted and the brushwork freer than one might expect. The result is a soft, other worldly feel, whether the subject is a worn pair of boots or a dish of tomatoes. Tanya’s technical skills help to transport the viewer to a country kitchen where the just-baked pie is cooling on the table — an idyllic scene, whether from memory or a dream.
Women of the West is on view August 8th to August 27th, 2018. For more information, please contact Caroline Isles by emailing email@example.com, call 970.927.9668, or visit 211 Midland Avenue in Basalt, Colorado.