Exhibition: Tough by Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women
Tough by Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and
Ranch Women of the American West
exhibition debuts at the Jordan Schnitzer
Museum of Art
The exhibition, by Eugene artist Lynda Lanker, features
portraits and stories from 49 women from 13 states
EUGENE, Ore. -- (March 26, 2012) –"Tough By
Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West,” an
exhibition by Lynda Lanker, opens this summer at the Jordan Schnitzer
Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. The public is invited to a free
opening reception on June 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will remain on
view through September 9, 2012.
"Tough By Nature” showcases Lynda Lanker’s
passion for the American West and the women who have shaped it. Once dominated
by ranches and agriculture, the West has been tamed and transformed through
settlement and corporate development. This special exhibition honors the spirit
and stories of ranch women and cowgirls who gain their sustenance and
livelihood from the land. Though her work, Lanker documents a vanishing way of
life that affirmed the role of women in the economy and ecology of the West.
Following its presentation at the JSMA, the exhibition will travel to other
venues under the auspices of Landau Traveling Exhibitions.
"Lynda Lanker is an immensely talented and
versatile artist,” says museum executive director and exhibition curator Jill
Hartz. "One of the great achievements of this exhibition is the range of
media Lynda uses to capture the spirit of her women.”
Featured in the exhibition are charcoal and
graphite drawings as well as stone and plate lithographs, acrylics, oil
pastels, and egg tempera.
"In the studio, the challenge was how to
best represent these exceptional women to the public through my art” explains
Lanker. "I executed a number of pieces using a mixed media of oil pastel over
watercolor or acrylic. But when I got to the portrait of New Mexico cowgirl
Mary Caldwell, the media didn’t evoke who she was. So I made my first egg
tempera, and there was Mary, right in front of me.”
Over nineteen years, Lanker traveled to 13
Western states, sketching, painting, interviewing and photographing more than
50 iconic Western women. The exhibition represents the culmination of a
19-year-long labor of love by Lanker, who is known in the Pacific Northwest as
a consummate portrait painter. Her commissioned portraits include, among many
others, five presidential portraits for the University of Oregon.
"I undertook this project because the
character of these women is right there on the surface,” says Lanker. "Nothing
to chip away. Just right there ready for me to express on paper or canvas or
Born May 5, 1943, in Kansas City, Missouri,
Lynda Lanker grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where she attended Wichita State
University and received her bachelor’s degree in art education. In the
mid-1980s her watercolors were recognized by Millard Sheets, a renowned artist
of the California School, who awarded Lanker the sweepstakes prize in a
competition of watercolor portraits. He subsequently arranged solo shows for
the artist, generating sales of her work and the teaching of workshops.
The exhibition is accompanied by a
hard-cover fully illustrated catalog, which includes contributions by Larry
McMurtry, Sandra Day O’Connor and Maya Angelou, as well as an artist’s
statement. Featuring portraits and interviews with 49 of the women Lanker
visited, the publication, which is made possible by The Ford Family Foundation
and private donors, is distributed by Oregon State University Press. It will be
available in the museum’s shop beginning June 30, at a price of $39.95.
About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art The
University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific
Northwest visual arts center for exhibitions and collections of historic and
contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum
is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation
and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public. The JSMA
features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan,
Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition
galleries. The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the
American Association of Museums.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is
located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours
are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free
admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with
ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information,
contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.
About the University of Oregon The
University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S.
universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research
Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher
Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the
Association of American Universities.
Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, http://jsma.uoregon.edu
Lynda Lanker, http://www.sockeyestudios.com/llanker/ http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/tough-by-nature