A strong show with extraordinary artists—now, the 2016 Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale sees immediate benefit from new incentives for participating artists. Additional prize money and a new category focused on sculpture prompted an increase in the number of applications from nationally recognized artists. Still limited to 106 applicants, the caliber of artist and the work submitted is stronger than ever, making this year’s show one of the most exciting in recent history.
Sponsored by the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, the 2016 art show entries are currently on exhibit at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West along with the 2016 Silent Auction selections and the Mini Wall Sale. While the Silent Auction and Mini Auction pieces are available for online purchase now, the 106 juried entries are set for live auction on Friday, September 23, 2016. All proceeds benefit the Chamber of Commerce, the Center of the West, and various art organizations in the Cody area.
Carefully chosen, four jurors gathered together to choose the best of the best. The group includes renowned art historian and Buffalo Bill Center of the West Director Emeritus, Peter Hassrick; author and art aficionado, Chase Reynolds Ewald; and contemporary art collectors Gary and Susan Miller. As they viewed the artwork on display at the Center of the West, all agreed there was “surprising overlap in all categories,” which was “indicative of the strong entries this year.”
Artist Michael Dudash received the Spirit of the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale Award, a $20,000 prize. The artist’s large oil painting, Turkey Hunter, depicts a young contemporary Indian woman who has taken on the task for hunting wild turkey for her family’s dinner. Gary Miller said of the painting, “It has a woman in it…it tests the narrative…it pushes boundaries…the woman has a commanding presence.” Susan Miller observed “…I liked it the first time I saw it in the catalogue, the first time I saw it online…and now, the first time I see it in person, I like it even more.”
New this year, the $10,000 3D Award acknowledges and honors the unique skill required to create a work in three-dimensional form, and is generously sponsored by Barron Collier II. Sculptor T.D. Kelsey is the award’s inaugural recipient for his sculpture, The Lick. The sculpture, created in two parts as bookends, depicts mountain goats at a mineral lick found deep in the Yukon—a scene that involved a two-day hike with heavy packs so that Kelsey could witness the natural phenomenon himself. The jurors were especially impressed with the story of hardships endured by the artist to capture such an unusual scene.
Josh Elliott’s painting, White as Snow, garnered the $10,000 2D Award, which Wells Fargo Bank sponsored. Ewald, who is familiar with such rural scenes, characterized the image as a “…cold winter day where the snow crunches under your boots, and the snow is every color but white…”
Jurors appreciated the entire process, explaining that it was “organized, transparent, explicit, and graciously facilitated…it helped to make a very difficult experience educational and enjoyable.” Facilitator Sheila Enriquez Lucas and exhibition director Kathy Thompson gave similar praise, thanking the jury for their expertise, their time, and especially for their respectful collegiality.
For additional event details, and/or event registration, visit buffalobillartshow.net. The Show is part of the weeklong Rendezvous Royale—seven days each September that celebrate the arts in Cody, Wyoming. Go to rendezvousroyale.org for more information.
Additional comments by the jury:
The four jurors who selected award winners for the 35th Annual Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale in Cody, Wyoming, include renowned art historian and Buffalo Bill Center of the West Director Emeritus, Peter Hassrick; author and art aficionado Chase Reynolds Ewald; and contemporary art collectors Gary and Susan Miller. Overall, the jury reported a “surprising overlap in all categories”; it was “indicative of the strong entries this year.”
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Michael Dudash, Turkey Hunter: Spirit of the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale Award
Gary Miller said of the painting, “It has a woman in it…it tests the narrative…it pushes boundaries…the woman has a commanding presence.” Ewald added, “I like the color…and the figure…and partly because it is a woman, I feel like the spirit part is a little stronger and perhaps a little more appropriate for this award.” Susan Miller observed “…I liked it the first time I saw it in the catalogue, the first time I saw it online…and now, the first time I see it in person, I like it even more. The painting draws you in as far as the history and the spirit and… the location of that blanket in the middle…it really does make you think…it involves you in the painting. The quality of the painting itself is beautiful.”
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T.D. Kelsey, The Lick: 3D Award
Ewald suggests, “…the depiction of Kelsey’s sculpture reveals the intent of the artist, his depth of knowledge and expression…and sheer artistic ability.” Susan Miller explains, “…it is a more serious and substantial piece of art…with more gravitas…the wow factor is in the quality.” “Some thoughts from an art historian brain,” says Hassrick, “…and I don’t mean to push it too hard, but it is much more meditative. As a historian, I see the bookends, and I see them propping up knowledge. Those animals come to that spot in Alaska because they remembered that spot…it provides succor for their existence and books…[and] theoretically could do the same thing for us…so there is some meaning to that piece…there is some substance to this work that we don’t see elsewhere…”
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Josh Elliott, White as Snow: 2D Award
Susan Miller explained to the group that for her, the winter landscape was “composed in a very linear way…the lines traverse the canvas and return to the main road—it silently achieves a ‘wow’ factor…. I feel like the artist really knows and understands his intent. This is a painting I could look at for the rest of my life.”
Peter Hassrick examined elements of the painting and described its “…elegance and quiescence. In every dimension, you have something to look for…you feel part of it…these older ranches will be part of our history soon—the work is very existential.”
Hassrick continues, “Elliot has a narrative; if you walk yourself down that road…it is so much of a place…it has so much of a sense of where we are. There is a quality of light…a temperature of light.” Susan Miller observes, “the painting has a grandeur to it…those mountains are big and cold and imposing, and yet there is warmth down that road in that house…” Ewald, who is familiar with such rural scenes, characterized the image as a “…cold winter day where the snow crunches under your boots, and the snow is every color but white…”
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.
See the Buffalo Bill Art Show website to view artwork in the online catalog.