Petecia Le Fawnhawk | Desert Elements

Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg

We are so thrilled to be featuring newly represented artist Petecia Le Fawnhawk's Desert Elements in our front gallery from May 17 - June 10th, 2017.  Le Fawnhawk is a multimedia artist whose body of work consists of sculptural and video installation, land art and drawings.  We are featuring a series of graphite drawings on paper that are dense with skilled detailed and leave the viewer inspired and surprised that she is completely self taught. 

Divine Doe Skull Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg
Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg
Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFAjpg

Le Fawnhawk comes from Irish, German and Cherokee descent, her work is deeply informed by her roots.  Her interest in nature stems from her early childhood where she would often explore abandoned spaces and would polish scavenged rocks and stones. She found inspiration in discarded relics that left an imprint early on and continues to influence her work.  

Dark Stone of White Wash Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg
Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA

"I have an overwhelming urge to pick up a certain stick, stone or bone because of some undefined beauty or unique character and take it home with me. I want to understand what it is that I find beautiful about these natural objects. Why do they hold such a place of honor? If I studied them closely enough, analyzing their structure and anatomy of existence out of context, and draw them big enough, I might understand my spiritual connection and relationship to something beyond them."

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Le Fawnhawk's ability to portray her subjects stripped from their inessential elements with such microscopic detail on a macroscopic scale leaves you wanting more. In fact when we received her 40 x 30 inch drawings we asked if she had ever worked in a larger format. When she said that she had thought about it but, had not approached a larger scale yet we asked her to consider premiering her largest piece yet in her first solo show with us at Modern West Fine Art.

Fibonacci's Flower Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg
Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFAjpg
Twisting Juniper Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg

Petecia Le Fawnhawk delivered Old Coyote Spirit, 64 x 44 inches. We were completely blown away and honored that she took upon herself the challenge to work larger. Desert Elements will be on view through June 10th and is an exhibition you will not want to miss, a must see in person.

Old Coyote Spirit Petecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg
Old Coyote SpiritPetecia Le Fawnhawk Desert Elements at MWFA.jpg

50th Anniversary of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album and the cover's co-creator Jann Haworth

Jann Haworth SLC PEPPER mural | photo by Chad Kirkland

Jann Haworth SLC PEPPER mural | photo by Chad Kirkland

With the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album's release we celebrate Modern West - represented artist  Jann Haworth as the co-creator of the cover of the album. Haworth is finally getting her due credit as the co-creator and directing her interviews on how that work has inspired other works including the SLC PEPPER mural and her most recent project Work In Progress.

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Work in Progress is a collaborative mural that has traveled worldwide and is currently featured at the BYU MOA, Provo and in the Woman/Women show at the Leonardo in Salt Lake City. 

Rebecca Campbell Artist Discussion

Rebecca Campbell Artist Discussion

We had the honor of hosting Rebecca Campbell, a California-based contemporary artist, who spoke to us about creating her works that were inspired by her family history. Rebecca's roots in Utah and the West were revealed in her compelling artist discussion. Below are a few highlights from the night.

Rebecca Campbell new works discussion artist modern west fine art
rebecca campbell artist modern west fine art new works

Throughout the discussion you referred to your works being constructs of the mind and the body. Can you expand on those concepts?

Going back to the first piece of art I created I recall thinking about my mother teaching me how to make a cake. I was thinking about holding the ingredients, the feel those ingredients mixings…and all of those things being incredibly important fundamentally, aesthetically, and as part of the intellectual experience. The memories and thoughts generated and recalled are an expression of the mind.

I have painted works that are all body; they’re the intellect of the hand, the eye, and breath. I try to push those polls around to emphasize their relationships. All of these forces working together end up giving you something you didn’t know you were going to get. To me that is a very important experience of being human. What I love about painting is that it ends up being a kind of artifact of the relationship between the brain and the body.

rebecca campbell new work modern west fine art

Many of the works give us a glimpse into your family’s history. What is it that you find interesting about this subject matter?

My black and white [paintings] are based on old family photographs and the family photographs are true, in a way. They are a document of the actual experience that my family lived. And yet, what I think is interesting is that they lived completely different experiences then what was captured and what we’ve been told. My paintings cross the blurred boundary between memory and imagination. 

rebecca campbell modern west new works
aunt dee rebecca campbell modern west fine art

What do you think is the greatest challenge an artist faces when producing bodies of work?

I think there is a real cleave between the brain and the body, a lot of artists don’t make their work. They see their idea as being the pinnacle of their art experience and the object as almost a tangent to that experience. The interesting thing about being and artist is that you come up with an idea, and if you are a painter, you have to throw the idea through the body and the body has its way with it. It changes your idea and it might not be what you expected.

rebecca campbell opening modern west new works
rebecca campbell modern west opening exhibition new work
rebecca campbell modern west fine art opening new works

To view all the works featured in the exhibition check out our Artsy page or stop by Tuesday through Saturday 11-6p.m. 

Artist Interview with Woody Shepherd

Modern West Fine Art is thrilled to feature new works by Woody Shepherd. The exhibition is currently on display until March 11, 2017. Woody Shepherd's bold landscapes demand presence in not only their scale but also their execution. His dramatic technique of layering and removing paint creates depth, texture and compelling composition in his work. We took a moment to ask Woody about his newest works...

Your captivating compositions engage the viewer to take a closer look. The bold colors through out your works are balanced with the serene subject matter. What inspired you to focus on creating pieces that were inspired by the wilderness with such a vibrant palette?

When bold colors interact and/or clash on the eye, it excites our senses. That is what I am trying to do not only with color but with texture as well. Instead of mixing every color in paint down to a "local color," I employ optical mixtures of vibrant colors next to each other in which are mixed on the eye rather than in paint. I find this effect to be interactive and exciting. The wilderness is a similar situation. There is light, color, texture being chopped up in all ways.  I am trying to simulate the same feeling and excitement in my paintings that I experience in real life.

You have been exhibiting your paintings with Modern West Fine Art since we opened three years ago. Our collectors love the large scale in which you work but some ask if you paint smaller. This is often due to the fact they don't have the space to feature your work. In your latest exhibition you provided us with new works that were smaller in scale. What influences the format in which you work in? Was it challenging for you to work in a smaller format? What draws you to paint in a larger format? 

I have been scaling down my paintings for the time being (but not abandoning the large scale ones). Ive been slowly tricking myself into being "Okay" with painting smaller by gradually scaling down over the past year or two. The demand for smaller works from collectors has finally caught up to me. For a long time I would not work under six foot in the smallest dimension. I am aiming to stay in a smaller format for a while, but am excited for the days to work larger again. Lately I have been particularly drawn back to the square or "close to square" format.  Square is a difficult format to work in, but when it is done well, it is a powerful shape.

Many of your works have incredible texture created by the building up and taking away layers of paint. Can you tell us more about your process and how you create such dynamic paintings.

Just like color, I like to interact and clash texture in my paintings. I find that it adds a whole extra dimension to my work. Just as you can witness colors as sensations, texture activates another sensation. I also like to confuse the relief of the surface texture with the illusion. Often the deepest space in the illusion is sticking the furthest out of the painting surface. The textures are created by many processes.

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Often I throw thick painting onto the surface, use a press, add textured mediums, use pallet knives, masking, and many more techinques.  I find texture, mark, speed, and movement to all be very expressional elements. I make paintings, not pictures, therefore I like to keep the paint gritty and remind the viewer that a painting is made by a human with a soul.

Stop by to view Woody Shepherd's newest works  on display through March 11, 2017.

Shonto Begay Artist Interview

Shonto Begay's exhibition, "Aje'Ji' | The Heart Way," opened at Modern West Fine Art for March's Gallery Stroll. During the artist discussion we had the chance to hear from Begay as he gave us insight into his process and past...

"I paint my dreams and things I know. When a Navajo child is born it's umbilical cord is cut, buried in the earth, to forever be embraced by the Mother. As long as I know where my cord is buried, I know I can go anywhere in the world and feel at home... as long as the umbilical cord is held, embraced by the earth, it is a magical thing."

"The landscapes, I know. This is the land that tempered me. I grew up to the rhythm of the chants, the prayers, and to the rhythm of weaving. I like sharing that, I like sharing not only the beauty, but the angst, the darkness, and the tribulation. There is a lot of it out there and painting is the way I transcend the shadows."

"I pay a lot of homage to my grandmother who taught me of my culture. Like the beautiful coming of age ceremony where we straighten spiritually, mentally, and physically. There are so many voices full of song and chanting. This is what we hear in life, this is what we are taught. Some days we encounter hardships and tribulations, that's when we must call back to the voices." -Shonto Begay

Nocona Burgess Artist Interview: The Legendary Plains

We were honored to feature newly represented artist Nocona Burgess for January's Gallery Stroll! Burgess is from Lawton, Oklahoma, and is the great-great-grandson of Chief Quanah Parker of the Comanche Nation. We had the opportunity to ask Burgess a few questions relating to his latest body of work The Legendary Plains...

They say, "Our past is what makes us who we are." You have traveled around the country throughout your youth and were exposed to a lot of different people and cultures. The Legendary Plains is a culmination of those experiences. Tell us more about this body of work and how it relates to your past.

The time line of The Legendary Plains is from the 1890's to 2016. I wanted to touch a bit on the history and diversity of the region, including some imagery from the past as well as contemporary images. I've lived and traveled throughout the Plains region; I've lived from Poplar, Montana, to Paris, Texas, traveled from Saskatchewan to Chihuahua and Coahuila. I mostly stuck with the imagery that was identifiable as "plains." In reality there is so much diversity in culture than I can show in just 15 paintings.

Studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), you learned more about how traditional forms have evolved into more contemporary styles. Tell us more about your process and how it has evolved.

At the IAIA I found what was possible for contemporary Native artist and what it would take to begin a career. Seeing the artists that came through the school was sort of a stepping off point. I've seen the traditional form evolving to contemporary form before my time at IAIA. I grew up around art and my dad was going to college to studying the arts when I was young. My process really began at the University of New Mexico (UNM), under Nick Abdalla. I had always leaned toward contemporary paintings, probably from my dad, but as far as working on a true technique, I found that in an advanced painting class at UNM. During that time I was forced to develop my own process and vision. That's when I started painting on black primed canvas and painting almost in reverse. I call it painting outward.

You have an incredible approach to promoting the history of the Comanche Nation and various other tribes and their stories. How does your heritage influence your work?

I think being from a significant historical family and tribe has contributed to that, it really made me aware of history in general, as well as, my own tribe and family. I've always been an avid reader and from an early age just fell in love with history. I have the complete collection of the TimeLife old-west books. My granddad had given me a couple when I was young and it all went from there. Along the way my art and my love for history collided.