New Mexico artists have incorporated horses in their Southwestern imagery since the 1880s. During the twentieth century, the horse became an icon of the region, reflecting its ethnic diversity and changing aesthetic styles. The 25 paintings, prints, and photographs in Back in the Saddle capture the changing spirit of Southwest art. The works are drawn from the New Mexico Museum of Art collection.
Artists in the exhibition include Gerald Cassidy, W. Herbert “Buck” Dunton, Betty Hahn, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Barbara Latham, Eliot Porter, Olive Rush, Fritz Scholder, Joseph Henry Sharp, Theodore Van Soelen, and Walter Ufer. The Native American, Hispanic, and European American art on view reveals some of the fusions that have occurred across cultural divides.
John Torres-Nez from the Southwest Association of Indian Art and Joseph Traugott from the New Mexico Museum of Art selected the works displayed in Back in the Saddle. The extended labels they wrote contrast their different perspectives on the art of New Mexico. Torres-Nez interprets from his contemporary, Diné (Navajo) perspective, while Traugott comments from a mainstream art historical perspective. Together these comments provide lively commentary on these traditional works of New Mexico art.
Torres-Nez offers the wittiest comments accompanying E. Martin Hennings’s painting Winter Snow Scene with Horse and Wagon, which depicts a horse pulling a wagon in a blizzard. Torres-Nez comments:
Whose piñon/juniper woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the Pueblo though;
He will not hear me stopping here
To watch my piñon baskets fill up with snow.
Traugott simply notes, “Visually, the sensitive purple-gray hues of mountains in the background contrast strongly with the snowed-in fields.”
Sharing the Clarke Gallery with Back in the Saddle will be a selection of works by Georgia O’Keeffe, also from the museum’s collection. These paintings offer a look into the diversity of O’Keeffe’s images and styles. The landscapes in this exhibition range between New York and New Mexico landscapes.
High-resolution images may be downloaded from the Museum of New Mexico Media Center here: http://media.museumofnewmexico.org/
Joseph Traugott, Curator of 20th- Century Art
Steve Cantrell, Public Relations Manager