Billy Schenck digital brochure

THE NEW WEST

BI LLY SCHENCK

THE NEW WEST BI LLY SCHENCK

FOREWORD In the 1962 John Ford American Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance , a newspaperman utters: “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” These words marked the sun rising on the career of pop artist Billy Schenck, who has become known as the ‘Warhol of the West’ for his exhilarating trek through Western mythology. Fusing Navajo culture, modern-day cowgirls and tongue-in-cheek humour, the Ohio-born artist explores the clash between wilderness and civilisation in his stunning collection, The New West . The body of work is inspired both by black-and-white stills of Hollywood Westerns and the pop art style of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. “I wanted to do with my paintings what Sergio Leone had done with film,” explains Billy. “No other genre in the last 200 years can compete. It has a timeless quality, and still has infinite possibilities to explore.” Bringing his art to the UK for the first time ever in November 2018, the real-life ranch sorting world champion promises to expose viewers to a reimagined Western narrative. Greek mythology clashes with irony, apocalyptic imagery and sexual tension for a collection that brazenly expands the limits of the genre.

Billy’s work is characterised by its scorching colour palette, surreal juxtapositions and cinematic composition. Reproduced in a flattened, reductivist style he illustrates what Southwest Art magazine terms ‘a stance…a pendulum between the romantic and the irreverent’. With accomplished use of chiaroscuro, Billy projects photographs from Western movie stills and fills the outlines with flat, hard-edged areas of colour. This, in his own words, produces “a perfect marriage of photorealism and a paint-by-number system”. His fiery horizons and landscapes are formed from distinct geographical locations and his childhood memories of summers spent in the high deserts of Wyoming. This curious mixture of real and imaginary, past and present is what defines the Kansas City Art Institute graduate. Through his exploration of mythical Western archetypes – including the lonesome cowboy and stoic Native American – Billy both celebrates and pokes fun at the subject. In a nod to Andy Warhol – with whom Billy shared a retrospective exhibition at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in 2018 – the artist has been titled the founder of the ‘Western pop art’ movement. With the legend of the cowboy continuing to live on in the popular imagination, Billy shows the sun is not yet ready to set on the Western genre.

“ I HAD NO I D EA THAT A FTER WATCH I NG THE SERG I O LEONE TR I LOGY OF SPAGHET T I WESTERNS I WOU LD SPEND THE NEXT 48 YEA RS OBSESSED WI TH TRYI NG TO CA PTUR E THE ESSENCE OF ‘WESTERN ’ MYTH .” BILLY SCHENCK

ORIGINAL ART

B L A Z I NG COWG I R L S I I I Oil on canvas Image size 35” x 45” Framed size 39½” x 49½”

J OHN WAYNE Oil on canvas Image size 50” x 40” Framed size 57” x 47”

T HE L ONG GOODBY E Oil on canvas Image size 30” x 36” Framed size 34½” x 40½”

A ROUND T HE CORNER TO B I G SK I ES Oil on canvas

Image size 36” x 36” Framed size 42” x 42”

J ORN A DO D E L MUER TO #2 Oil on canvas

Image size 30” x 30” Framed size 24” x 34”

P SYCHO K I L L ER #2 Oil on canvas Image size 45” x 33” Framed size 47” x 35”

COYOT E C A NYON Oil on canvas Image size 22” x 28” Framed size 28” x 34”

BORD ER PAT RO L Oil on canvas Image size 40” x 50” Framed size 42” x 52”

“ I HAVE A CI NEMAT I C A PPROACH TO MY IMAGERY. SERG I O LEONE BROUGHT A WRY, TONGUE - I N - CHEEK AT T I TUD E TO H I S WORK , AND HE SPOKE TO THE MORA L AMB I GU I TY OF THE ERA . I FI GUR ED I F SERG I O COU LD DO TH I S WI TH FI LM, I COU LD DO I T WI TH A RT, PR ESENT I NG AN A LTERNAT I VE V I SI ON OF WESTERN PA I NT I NG .” BILLY SCHENCK

L AT E R A I N ON T HE MES A Oil on canvas Image size 40” x 40” Framed size 46½” x 46½”

A L A ND L ESS T R AV E L ED Oil on canvas Image size 25” x 50” Framed size 29¾” x 54½”

B L UE MOON Oil on canvas Image size 30” x 36” Framed size 36½” x 42½”

S A R A H ’ S S E A RCH Oil on canvas Image size 36” x 30” Framed size 38” x 32”

T HE G I R L FROM CH I NL E Oil on canvas

Image size 30” x 36” Framed size 37” x 43”

CH AOS I N C A L G A RY Oil on canvas Image size 20” x 24” Framed size 22” x 26”

#12 Oil on canvas

Image size 24” x 24” Framed size 26” x 26”

L A ND O ’ L A K ES HUN T ER Oil on canvas

Image size 40” x 40” Framed size 42” x 42”

C L I N T #1 Silkscreen on canvas Image size 24½” x 19¼” Framed size 26½” x 21¼”

“POP A RT I NFLUENCED MY A RT STYL I ST I CA LLY. THE IMAGE - MA K I NG OF WARHO L AND L I CHTENSTE I N, PART I CU L AR LY L I CHTENSTE I N ’ S AB I L I TY TO MA KE PA I NT I NGS THAT HAD NO TRACE OF A HUMAN BE I NG HAV I NG PA I NTED THEM . FL AT, HA RD - EDGED A R EAS OF PA I NT R EPL I CAT I NG A COMI C BOOK IMAGE.” BILLY SCHENCK

M A R L BORO G I R L #1 Oil on canvas Image size 45” x 35” Framed size 47” x 37”

S T UDY FOR V I VA L A FR E I DA Oil on canvas

Image size 30” x 30” Framed size 32” x 32”

M I S T I F I ED TOO Oil on canvas Image size 45” x 45” Framed size 47” x 47”

LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

J ORN A DO D E L MUER TO #2 (Below) Silkscreen on Paper

L OOS E L I P WI L L K I L L YOU (Right) Silkscreen on Paper Image size 30” x 30” Framed size 41” x 40” £1,950

Image size 30” x 30½” Framed size 41” x 40” £1,950

ON T HE H I GH MES A (Left) Silkscreen on Paper Image size 34” x 28” Framed size 39½” x 44” £1,950 P SYCHO K I L L ER #2 (Below) Silkscreen on Paper Image size 26½” x 34” Framed size 44½” x 36¼” £1,950

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Ohio in 1947, Billy Schenck became passionate about art as a child. Influenced by cartoons, he drew Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and characters from the American humour magazine, Mad Magazine . A trip to the Native American settlement of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico at the age of five established a lifelong connection to the desert for Billy, who went on to attend Columbus College of Art and Design before graduating with a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute in 1969. Following a move to New York, his first solo show at the age of 24 sold out – marking the start of a long and illustrious career. As one of the originators of the Western pop art movement, Billy incorporated photorealism techniques with a pop art sensibility both to celebrate and poke fun at Western imagery. His early exploration of the relationship between art, celebrity and advertising saw Billy unite with Warholian iconoclasts in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time he mingled with celebrities such as the American music legend Lou Reed. During a period in which the New York art scene rejected social and political commentary as too ‘literal’ and ‘dated’, Billy’s instinctive narrative arc marked him out from other creators. Artists Francis Bacon and

John Clem Clarke became his mentors due to their incorporation of non-linear narrative content. From the 1980s onwards, Billy began to expand his colour palette and add a mischievous, tongue-in-cheek slant to his work. Likening the Western genre to a metaphor, he continually sought to push the boundaries of the subject – leading him to be titled the founder of the ‘Western pop art’ movement. His links to Andy Warhol were exemplified in 2018, when he shared a retrospective exhibition with the artist at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, from May to September 2018. Here, 26 pieces from his Myth of the West collection appeared alongside Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians . Now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, his work can be found in major collections across the globe, including the Smithsonian Institution, Tucson Museum of Art and Saatchi & Saatchi. Additionally, Billy’s art has been the subject of several books, including the U.S. Literary Award-winning Schenck in the 21st Century: The Myth of the Hero and the Truth of America by Amy Abrams. Billy is also a talented rodeo rider, having won a world championship for ranch sorting in 2009. He is the proprietor of the Double Standard Ranch in his hometown, illustrating that life truly does imitate art.

“THE ONE TH I NG I TH I NK CAN HURT A RT I STS , I S WHEN THEY FI NA LLY FI ND THE I R N I CHE AND THEN KEEP R EPEAT I NG THEMSELVES AND QU I T EXPLOR I NG . FORTUNATELY, I GET BOR ED QU I CKLY, SO I KEEP MOV I NG THROUGH MY SUBJ ECT MAT TER AND MY PA LET TE.” BILLY SCHENCK

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

MUSEUM COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

With a career spanning five decades, Billy Schenck’s work features in major collections around the world, including 52 museums and the private collections of the estates of Malcolm Forbes and Laurence Rockefeller. And with global companies such as American Airlines, IBM, Sony and Saatchi & Saatchi adding his art to their portfolios, it was only a matter of time before his Western mythology became the subject of a book. In 2010, the artist released Bill Schenck: Serigraphs 1971-1996 in conjunction with a retrospective of the same title.

One of his biggest career highlights to date is a shared retrospective with Andy Warhol at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, from May to September 2018. Here, 26 pieces from his Myth of the West collection appeared alongside Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians . In 2018, the artist will take his first-ever trip outside the USA for a touring exhibition of the UK. It will be the first time audiences will have the opportunity to meet the original ‘grandaddy of contemporary Western art’.

Autry Museum of the American West Denver Art Museum Smithsonian Institute Scottsdale Museum of the West Tucson Museum of Art Booth Western Art Museum Briscoe Western Art Museum Los Angeles County Museum of Art

THE NEW WEST BI LLY SCHENCK

The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2018. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

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