Join painter Dennis Ziemienski at Altamira Fine Art for an opening reception and artist’s talk on on Ziemienski’s new show, “Visions of the New Old West,” on July 30th, 5:30-7:30 pm. The show remains on exhibit July 27-August 8.
As time passes, disputes over what is considered true Western art have volubly (in the sense of expanding lung capacity) lessened. We are, as this show’s title suggests, evolving yet again. Recently I attended a Yale University Art Gallery talk on Whistler’s etchings and their influence over artists of his age; conversely, Whistler was influenced by his peers. Put all these artists’ works together, and the effects are clear as day.
“Nothing is really ever new,” remarked the university’s etchings curator. “Everything springs from another era some way, somehow.”
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. His work melds love of traditional Western aesthetic and everything new the West has absorbed for decades.
How unlikely to think of Whistler’s work while considering Ziemenski’s; the former show included a nocturne, and Altamira’s includes Ziemienski’s “Wig Wam Nocturne,” shown above. It’s one of my favorites. See how the artist lines up his composition, playing the tipi’s inverted “V” against a parked car’s tailwing rear lights? Perfectly placed zig-zags (symbolizing mountains?) echo a line of violet sunset clouds. A lighted door beckons. www.altamiraart.com.