November 2005
Page 8   
Exhibition Review
What's Up & Upcoming Around Utah

St. George Art Museum UP thru December 23, 2005 The West: Denim & Dust , Lon Megargee: Legendary Prints of the Southwest from the Hays Collection, Equestrian West, Photography of William Shepley, Red, White, & Rhyolite, Sculpture of Kirk McCoy, Rodeo: Paintings of Lenka Konopasek.

Lon Megargee: The following contains excerpts from an exhibiton profile by Abe Hays for the exhibition Lon Megargee: Legendary Prints of the Southwest from the Hays Collection. Hays will speak at the St. George Art Museum on November 17 at 7pm.

Legendary Prints of the Southwest is a traveling exhibition highlighting the graphic artwork of Lon Megargee (1883 – 1960), Arizona’s original cowboy artist. The exhibition, which is the most comprehensive ever provided of the artist’s graphic work, is from the collection of Abe and Lalla Hays of Paradise Valley, Arizona. It contains more than fifty prints and is the largest known.

At age 13, Lon Megargee came to Phoenix in 1896 following the death of his father in Philadelphia. For several years he resided with relatives while working at an uncle’s dairy farm and at odd jobs. He returned to Philadelphia in 1898 – 1899 in order to attend drawing classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Back in Phoenix in 1899, he decided at the age of 16 to try to make his living as a cowboy.

Lon moved to the cow country of Wickenburg where he was hired by Tex Singleton’s Bull Ranch. He later joined the Three Bar Ranch . . . and, after a few years, was offered a job by Billy Cook of the T.T. Ranch near New River. By 1906, Megargee had learned his trade well enough to be made foreman of Cook’s outfit.

Never shy about taking risks, Lon soon left Cook to try his own hand at ranching. He partnered with a cowpuncher buddy, Tom Cavness, to start the El Rancho Cinco Uno at New River. Unfortunately, the young partners could not foresee a three-year drought that would parch Arizona, costing them their stock and then their hard-earned ranch.

Breaking with his romantic vision of cowboy life, Megargee finally turned to art full time. He again enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy and then the Los Angeles School of Art and Design during 1909 – 1910. The now well-trained student took his first trip to paint “en plein air” (outdoors) to the land of Hopi and Navajo peoples in northern Arizona. After entering paintings from this trip in the annual Territorial Fair at Phoenix, in 1911, he surprisingly sold his first oil painting to a major enterprise – the Santa Fe Railroad . . . Lon received $50 for “Navajos Watching the Santa Fe Train.” He soon sold the SFRR ten paintings over the next two years. For forty years the railroad was his most important client, purchasing its last painting from him in 1953.

In a major stroke of good fortune during his early plein-air period, Megargee had the opportunity to paint with premier artist, William R. Leigh (1866 – 1955). Leigh furnished needed tutoring and counseling, and his bright, impressionistic palette served to enhance the junior artist’s sense of color and paint application.

In a remarkable display of unabashed confidence and personable salesmanship, Lon Megargee, at age 30, forever linked his name with Arizona art history. Despite the possibility of competition from better known and more senior artists, he persuaded Governor George Hunt and the Legislature in 1913 to approve 15 large, historic and iconic murals for the State Capitol Building in Phoenix. After completing the murals in 1914, he was paid the then princely sum of roughly $4000. His Arizona statehood commission would launch Lon to considerable prominence at a very early point in his art career.

Following a few years of art schooling in Los Angeles, and several stints as an art director with movie studios, including Paramount, Megargee turned in part to cover illustrations for popular Western story magazines in the 1920s.

In the 1920s, as well, Lon began making black and white prints of Western types and of genre scenes from woodblocks. These prints he generally signed and sold singly. In 1933, he published a limited edition, signed and hard-cover book (about 250 copies and today rare) containing a group of 28 woodblock images. Titled “The Cowboy Builds a Loop,” the prints are noteworthy for strong design, excellent draftsmanship, humanistic and narrative content, and quality. Subjects include Southwest Indians and cowboys, Hispanic men and women, cattle, horses, burros, pioneers, trappers, sheepherders, horse traders, squaw men and ranch polo players.

Megargee had a very advanced design sense for simplicity and boldness which he demonstrated in how he used line and form. His strengths included outstanding gestural (action) art and strong figurative work. He was superb in design, originality and drawing, as a study of his prints in the Hays collection reveals.

In 1944, he published a second group of Western prints under the same title as the first. Reduced to 16 images from the original 28 subjects, and slightly smaller, Lon produced these prints in brown ink on a heavy, cream-colored stock. He designed a sturdy cardboard folio to hold each set. For the remainder of his life, Lon had success selling these portfolios to museum stores, art fairs and shows, and to the few galleries then selling Western art.

Drawing on real working and life experiences, Lon Megargee had a comprehensive knowledge, understanding and sensitivity for Southwestern subject matter. Noted American modernist, Lew Davis (1910 – 1979), helped to explain the uniqueness, strength and character of Megargee’s art in a 1975 interview with an Arizona publication:

"His restless independence as a man and an artist was clear then (before WWI) and remained so until his death. Always one characteristic stood out. He was indigenous. He belonged here. Not a carpetbagger with a paint box, or a disillusioned urbanite seeking a new life, but an artist who used what he knew and had lived to put down what he had seen."

From the origins of his career in art, Lon Megargee had a strong sense of the importance and worthiness of contributions that had been made by Native Americans and Hispanics. Even when satirizing their actions and foibles, and those of his Anglo peers, Megargee in his art provided a fairness and balance to all creeds that was enlightened for its time.”

The St. George Art Museum is located at 47 E. 200 N. in St. George, UT 84770 (directly across from the Main Post Office at the corner of Main and 200 North).

Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club (a private club for members) is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Salute to the Arts. This event is to be held in the lower level of the new Entrada clubhouse Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th, 2005. Friday’s show from 5 pm to 8 pm will be exclusively for members of Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. Saturday’s show from 10 am to 4 pm will be open to non-members, 21 and older, with the purchase of a $5 visitor card. Light refreshments will be served and wine will be available for purchase.

Featured artists are coming from St. George and surrounding communities. Favorites like Jerry and Fawn Anderson, Mary Curtis, Gary Ayers, and Susan Cary, as well as up and coming artists like Brian Jensen, Julie Rogers, and Russ Wrankle will be in attendance. The show will also feature Sherry Thompson giclees (computer-generated prints). Members of Entrada, like Richard Derosier and Robyn Fairfield, will also have the opportunity to show off their talents. Artists will have their art available for sale and will be commissioning pieces.

For more information contact Entrada at 986-2200.

Brigham Young University Museum of Art UP: Adam’s Dream: The Photographs of Rodney Smith, will be on view from thru January 16, 2006. For more information see July 2005 edition. Images of Don Quixote. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first publication of “Don Quixote,” the Brigham Young University Museum of Art will display an exhibition of these illustrations dating from 1620 through 1885 by artists such as Gustave Doré and William Hogarth. Thru Dec. 10, 2005.

Terra Nova Gallery: UP: Great Things/Small Packages will feature dozens of small works by an amazing array of artists – from the freshly emerging to the solidly experienced, including: Joseph Alleman, Robert Barrett, Doug Fryer, Mary Jarvis, Rebecca Lee, Colleen Parker, Anne Weber, and many others. The public is invited you to enjoy an evening of ‘Great Things’ on Friday, November 4th from 6-8 p.m.

Springville Museum of Art: UP: Thru the end of Novemer the Clyde Gallery features Exposants: European Salon Art, and exhibit of 19th century European paintings from the collection of Anthony's Antiques and Fine Art. The work of these academic artists are now undergoing a renaissance in the art world once dominated by modern art. The rest of the museum is dominated by the 20th Annual Religious & Spiritual Art of Utah which is charged with the personal beliefs, and spiritual aspirations (both orthodox and heterodox) of Utah artists from all faiths and denominations. Thru December 28th.

Central Utah Art Center: Jackie Meier and Scott Malbaurn: Static Gesture thru November 30th.Nov 30

Jackie Meier is from New York City. She holds an MFA from prestigious Pratt Institute in New York and a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco. She also holds a BA and MA in economics from Boston College in Boston. Meier uses the language of abstraction to explore the meaning and mystery in life. Her paintings are where the world of her every-day knowledge meets the world of her knowledge about art. She explores composition, color, line, gesture and her relationship to art history. Specifically, her treatment of gesture cites Abstract Expressionism of the first half of last century only she then mechanically reproduces it. Through this process she distinguishes herself from Abstract Expressionism and comments on that movement. Meier has had several solo exhibitions in the New York area and shows in New York and California.

Scott Malbaurn, also from New York City, received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and his MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. He has an exhibition record that includes several states in New England and has held curatorial positions in a number of places including the Noguchi Museum in New York. His paintings are hard edge minimalist works that are art-historically minded, commenting on both Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. His large, color-field paintings are broken up compositionally by curved lines he produces carefully by repeating the same curve and angle of directions shift throughout a painting, their hard edges are produced as he uses tape as a drawing utensil. This static approach to line both recalls the idea of gesture and simultaneously refutes it. This tension between those opposite approaches to abstraction positions Malbaurn’s work at the cutting edge of abstract painting today.

Each of these artists make abstract paintings that refer to Abstract Expressionism through their reference to gesture, and at the same time add to that idea by treating the gesture itself in a way that eliminates the action inherent in the gesture. Although Meier and Malbaurn overlap in this area, they have very unique ways of treating that idea.

Frank McEntire

UVSC Woodbury Art Museum
The Art of Comics. The exhibition features a retrospective of the sequential art works of Will Eisner. A historical giant in the industry and the father of the graphic novel, Eisner helped promote the comic as an art form and inspired generations of comic artists throughout his 60-plus year career. In addition to the Eisner portion of the exhibition, the Woodbury Art Museum is also drawing upon selections from a few Utah comic art collectors – both visual artists in their own professions – Gary E. Smith and Peter L. Myer. These works represent various styles and movements illuminating historical trends and cultural precedents. Artists such as Frank Frazetta, Dave McKeon, George Herriman, and Jack Kirby will be exhibited. Examples from such classics as Krazy Kat, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Tarzan, and many others will be available for patron perusal. October 14 - December 16.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art UP: Sight & Sound: A Visual Metaphor Selected paintings and sculptures from the museum’s permanent collection illustrate the influence of twentieth-century music on the development of visual expression and the role art played as inspiration to twentieth-century composers.

Eccles Community Art Center : During November, the Main Gallery of the Eccles Community Art Center, 2580 Jefferson Avenue, Ogden will display the paintings of Mac Stevenson of North Ogden and the turned wood bowls and vases of Joe Deru of Mariott/Slaterville City. The Carriage House Gallery will feature the paintings of Lindey Carter of Layton. Their work will be on exhibit November 4th through 26th. A reception for the artists is scheduled for Friday, November 4th from 7 to 9 p.m.

Universe City (2556 Washington Blvd )In conjunction with the First Friday Art Stroll in downtown Ogden, Universe City will feature Suzanne Storer ceramics and prints with opening night Friday, November 4th. The exhibit will run through November 19th. The ceramic art of Suzanne Storer provides both a way for her to make a living and a way of life as a potter and ceramic sculptor. Her production pottery is based on animal and water life forms. Her “Bird” bowls and spoon rests have been said to “rise and fly” from the surface where they are placed. A second line of pottery evolves from the spirited imagery painted and pecked into the rock walls in the desert canyons of southern Utah by Native American Indians. She explores these canyons and draws both the rock art and the amazing rock formations she finds there. This sculptured land feeds her art.

Kimball Art Center UP: Through November 28th John Berry: Silence and Sage a new series of landscapes portraying the artist's reverence for the beauty of the land and its silence,through simplified shapes and forms.

Adam Bateman: Literal Sculptures thru November 13 see September edtion page 1.
Cein Watson: Emergent Properties thru November 20th. See October edition page8.
Gary Denmark at Julie Nester Gallery (see page 4)