Lang wins prestigious John Steven Jones Purchase Award and Gold for Oil/Acrylic at the 37th Annual Bosque Art Classic held in Clifton’s Bosque Arts Center
CLIFTON – In the 37 years the show has been in existence, the annual juried Bosque Arts Center Art Classic art show and sale has grown and thrived thanks to the dedication of its art patrons to support the work of talented artists and has become synonymous with outstanding original representational art with a Country and Western focus. The exhibition kicked off Sept. 10 with the opening night sale, dinner and awards ceremony.
Before the awards ceremony, BAC Art Council President Virginia Richards showed the audience a water color by Don Weller, called “Old News” of a modern-day cowboy studying the petroglyphs on a canyon wall.
“Wherever humans go, they take their creativity with them,” Richards said, connecting the earliest human paintings with the outstanding art in the BAC Art Classic. “We like to think that the power of creativity connects all of us, no matter where or when we walk the earth. So tonight, we celebrate the art and artists of now.”
Richards also thanked the Art Council members who donate many hours to making the Art Classic memorable every year.
Of the 182 exceptional pieces on display, this year’s judge – Cowboy Artist of America Mikel Donahue – chose first and second place awards in each category. Donahue won the coveted BAC Art Classic’s John Stevens Jones Purchase Award in 2013, and he believes winning that award helped with recognition with fellow artists and clients alike. Thanks to the sponsors the artists receive prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively.
“Donahue accepted the difficult job of selecting winners of each category of art and his serious and deliberate approach to choosing the winners was impressive,” Richards said.
Why is the BAC Art Classic a show artists want to enter and art lovers want to visit? According to Richards, the artists coming to Clifton, say they are treated better at our show than other shows. Part of the show’s ongoing success is that people enjoy meeting the artists and certainly, artists enjoy meeting people who appreciate their talents. Because the show attracts artists nationally, the organizers know they cannot all travel great distances to attend, but those who do come receive genuine hospitality.
“I felt the absence of Joyce and Roland Jones, who are icons of the Bosque Art Classic,” Richards said. “They are most responsible for building the reputation of our juried show by pointing to excellent artists to judge the art for inclusion.”
Punky Penberthy was honored to announce the winner of the prestigious John Steven Jones Purchase Award in their stead. The award is given in memory of the couple’s deceased son.
“We are much honored to give this award to Steven Lang, who comes all the way from California,” the Jones’ said. “We are very proud to have this piece hanging on the walls in the permanent collection.”
Lang’s “Portrait of Lakota” also won the gold medal in the Oil/Acrylic category.
Penberthy reiterated that the BAC and the Art Classic would not be what it is today without their involvement and support. As per Joyce’s request, Penberthy was sure to thank the Art Council, the art patrons for sponsoring the different awards, and Debra Evans, who does an incredible amount of organizational work behind the scenes.
She also went on to thank the participating artists, especially those who consistently enter in the show over the years, like June Dudley – she was the first winner of the Jones Award – who has been in every show but one. The artists also make the show what it is.
Patrick Saunders’ “Dama de Rojo” won the Art Patrons Purchase Award. According to Richards it was a strong contender for the gold medal in oil/acrylic. Donahue felt it was perfect in many ways, like composition, use of color, contrasting elements and its symbolism.
The purchase awarded art becomes a part of the Bosque Arts Center's exclusive and beautiful permanent collection in the Roland Jones Memorial Gallery on the second floor of the BAC. This collection is displayed throughout the year for the public to enjoy for free.
Another important award is the Boren-Selvidge Award in memory of James Boren – one of the “Bosque Seven” and sponsored by the family. Nancy and her mother Mary Ellen Selvidge-Boren chose “Yep That’s What I’m Gonna Do Now” for the $1,000 prize.
"We look for excellence in general and if possible, a subject that exemplifies my father's specific interests in art,” Nancy Boren said. “’Yep That's What I'm Gonna Do Now’ has multiple attributes -- a warm underpainting that was allowed to show through and provide unification, an interesting composition, well-painted figures, lovely rim light and last but not least an intriguing title that hints at the story of the conversation going on in the scene. Even though several paintings were carefully considered, Charlie Bullock's painting rose to the top and we were delighted to recognize it with the award."
The $1,000 New Entrant Award sponsored by Karen and Jimmie Hughes went to Kathy Rippy Flemming’s “Pondering,” a portrait of a young Native American.”
“It just stole our hearts,” the Hughes said. “The way it was represented and the subject matter.”
Lang – winner of the John Steven Jones Memorial award and gold medal in oil/acrylic – was mostly very honored and proud to be recognized and the prize money is a bonus. He and his wife LeAnn drove to Texas in a three-day journey from their home on the Monterey Peninsula in California, enjoying the back roads, receiving a warm welcome and the highest awards of the 2022 show.
“When I was a young boy, I became enthralled with a book on Frederic Remington and his images of the Old West, I knew then that I too would strive to tell the visual story of the American Frontier through my art,” Lang said.
He had received “The Remington Book” by Harold McCracken for Christmas from his parents, and his love for the Old West began, and now he devotes his art to painting the grand legacy of the American West.
Lang dedicates his career to the memories of his parents. Over the years, Lang enhanced his painting skills by taking art instruction from several Cowboy Artists of America members including R.S. Riddick, Jim Norton, and Bosque County Seven artists Martin Grelle and Bruce Green.
According to Lang, the 19th century defined America with a sense of nobility, grit, self-reliance and perseverance. This is the essence of his work.
“With each oil painting that I create, I seek to evoke the pathos, drama and high adventure of a period in our history when the people, wildlife and landscapes had such profound effect on building the character of our greatest nation,” Lang states on his website. “Whether I’m painting Native Americans, pioneers or cowboys, the allure of the Western Frontier with its cultural tragedies and triumphs of the human spirit has become the cornerstone of my artistic endeavors.”
As a result of countless hours or research, participation in period re-enactments and his Native American descent – Pawnee and Cherokee – Lang is able to accurately and emphatically portray the nation’s early history. His paintings are based on the historical record and grounded in fact. His paintings depict a narrative and insight which is much appreciated by his collectors.
The BAC Art Classic is a treat for art lovers, allowing them to see exceptional art up close and personal. For the artists, the show is a validation of their talent, skills and place in the representational art world.
The prestigious representational art show and sale annual Bosque Arts Center’s Art Classic drew over 250 art lovers and patrons from far and wide, offering them a diversity of exceptional art to admire. After the opening weekend reception and sale, the remaining pieces are now available for sale online beginning until Saturday, Sept. 24.
The link to the art sale website is: https://event.auctria.com/45f7b786-ea49-4664-a1a7-1a1171bc6229/. With more art sold – 41 pieces – than the entire show last year, the sale can already be called a success for the artists on exhibit. This year’s juried works can be seen in person until Sept. 24 and on the BAC website at: https://www.bosqueartscenter.org/Gallery.aspx
“I hope everyone takes the free opportunity to view the excellent variety of art and try to pick their favorite,” Richards said. “It is a daunting task to find only one that you like the best.”
The BAC Art Classic exhibition is open free to the public September 11-24: Sunday, September 11: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Monday-Friday, September 12-16, 19-23: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays, September 17 & 24: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The BAC is located at 215 College Hill Drive in Clifton.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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