Tacoma – Tacoma Art Museum highlights the creative cowboy culture of the Pacific Northwest in two new exhibitions that opened Saturday, October 31: Saddles, Spurs, and Quirts: The Art of Leatherworking and Northwest Cowboys in Art and will be on view through May 15, 2016.
Northwest Cowboys in Art celebrates the ranching and cowboy culture that has been part of the Pacific Northwest for more than a century. The exhibition includes works from a local favorite, painter Fred Oldfield, among a selection of Northwestern artists. Born in Washington in 1918, Oldfield grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation. He worked as a cowhand before joining the United States Army during World War II. The G.I. Bill allowed him to attend art school in Seattle, after which Oldfield went to work painting murals and landscapes in Alaska, Canada, and the Northwest. His colorful, award-winning work has been the subject of numerous one-man exhibitions. At 97, Oldfield continues to paint. He has also taught children and adults, and is the generous and active founder of the arts education non-profit Fred Oldfield Western Heritage and Art Center in Puyallup.
Saddles, Spurs, and Quirts: The Art of Leatherworking spotlights the intersection between art and function through 31 beautifully hand-crafted works. Artisans and makers span from Argentina to Oregon, and the designs come from cultures as far-reaching as the Spanish Moors. Embellished saddles, bridles, quirts, and spurs add an undeniably artistic flair to the tools of American cowboys and ranchers. What is a quirt, you might ask? TAM welcomes you to learn this and more.
These exhibitions will be on view in TAM’s Haub Family Galleries, celebrating the new wing’s one-year anniversary. This marks the first change from the inaugural exhibition, Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection, which has been attracting visitors since November of 2014.
“It has been a remarkable year for Tacoma Art Museum and for western American art fans in the Pacific Northwest. We welcomed the Haub Family Collection and opened our new wing just last November. Visitors love it!” says Laura Fry, TAM’s Haub Curator of Western American Art. “Western American art resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. Many of us can relate to the themes, the feelings, and the stories evoked in these works. TAM has been able to add to the scholarship around western American art too, through educational programming, our annual contemporary artist lecture, and our TAM Symposium.”
Saddles, Spurs, and Quirts and Northwest Cowboys in Art will be followed by two more new western American art exhibitions slated to open Nov. 21, just in time for Thanksgiving holiday visitors. (Re)Presenting Native Americans will explore how artists of varying backgrounds represent Native American identity, and how those works of art have affected our ideas of American identity. Artists Drawn to the West examines the artistic styles, trends, and movements that influenced imagery and perceptions of the American West.
Several select favorites from Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection will remain on view, and visitors will also see some works from the Haub collection that have not yet been on view.
For more information, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org/