Many of the over 700,000 visitors to the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado may miss one of the gems of the show, up on the 3rd floor of the Expo Hall. It’s a rich exhibit of the American West, portrayed by some of the best contemporary Western artists.
The Coors Western Art Exhibition and Sale, a collection of more than 200 works of art by top artists, is said to be “one of the best western art exhibits in the nation,” according to National Western. A Colorado native, volunteering at the exhibit, spoke of the pride that Coloradans feel as they tour the exhibit. The land is unique, with colors that change throughout the day and rugged land with inspiring beauty.
The people work hard, and the energy in their activities is clearly portrayed in the art. Quiet moments on the ranch, celebrations and family suppers merge history into modern generations. Some art is of modern scenes, while others come from elders’ recollections and imagery. All of it provides a unique western energy very different from other types of art.
Many people have little idea what Western Art really is. Perhaps because the American West seemed primitive compared to the urban centers of the East, people might think that the art is also primitive in subject and in style. On the other hand, modern Western Art might be seen as extensions of “modern art” to include the colors and patterns of the west in abstract paintings. In fact, is seems that Western Art is sometimes reminiscent of the Dutch Masters and their portraits of common folk, while other Western works had the energy of Van Gogh or the peaceful prairies reminding visitors of Impressionist works from the south of France.
The featured artist this year, according to National Western, is Karmel Timmons, of Elbert, Colorado. One of her pieces will be added to the permanent collection of the Stock Show, and collector’s posters of that piece will be for sale. Timmons’ talent combined with inspiration of her Colorado surroundings to create her career as a professional artist with many shows and publications. She’s been the People’s Choice at the National Western Stock Show for three years running.
The Coors Western Art Exhibit, which contains more than 200 works of 52 artists, is in a variety of media, including oil, pastel, watercolor, pencil, etching, photography and bronze, in traditional to contemporary styles. Many of the works, portraying diverse views of western life, are for sale, and proceeds benefit the National Western Scholarship Trust, providing scholarships to agribusiness and rural family medicine students in Colorado and Wyoming.