Etherton Gallery is pleased to present In Their Nature, an exhibition featuring new paintings by Tucson artists Jim Waid, Robert Cocke and Craig Cully. In Their Nature highlights the work of three artists who use nature to articulate metaphorical relationships with the world. On display in the Etherton Gallery pop-up: recent work by Andy Burgess. The exhibition opens with an artist reception on Saturday, March 10, from 7-10pm and runs through June 2, 2018.
One of Tucson’s best-known and most beloved painters, Jim Waid is known for his large scale semi-abstract canvasses, which portray the desert as a teeming, inter-connected world of plants and animals. In Their Nature features Waid’s pastels on paper. For over four decades, pastel has played a primary role in his artistic process. The nature of the medium -- its immediacy, variety of available hues and warmth, create the opportunity to engage in an intuitive exploration of ideas and observation. Waid experiments with new forms and techniques in his pastels, and later commits to them in his monumental paintings. Many of the works in the show were made in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, where Waid keeps an outdoor studio and has access to ever-changing source material. In Cloudcroft 6, 2017-18, you feel as though you were in the garden with Waid, watching a bird resting momentarily on a profusion of salvia, while Desert Fracture reduces the desert to an abstract blend of pales pastels punctuated by a network of black squiggles, small dots of electric color, and the occasional saguaro. In Their Nature features the essential Jim Waid, whose use of color creates a sense of light and atmosphere unmistakably his own.
Best known for fantastical landscape paintings that present nature as a realm of wonder and transcendence, in recent work Robert D. Cocke expresses his disillusionment with the technology that rules our lives and isolates us from what is fundamental and real. His recent paintings feature a small parallel reality that distills his thoughts and experiences in the world. In Bon Voyage a tablescape that features an ocean liner, a bird, a globe and a teepee -- connoting the breadth of the world as well as the depth of cultures that populate it -- is bracketed by two leafless trees set against a sublime sky filled with clouds, painted to suggest birds and spaceships. As he says, “The ‘techno bubble’ makes it easy to forget that we are part of nature, still surrounded by the age-old mysteries of life on this Earth.” Cocke’s work serves as a reminder that we live in an awe-inspiring world that technology shuts out even as it tries to emulate it.
In Their Nature showcases paintings from Discourse of the Chase, Craig Cully’s recent series that presents narratives about foxhunting, a centuries-old sport riddled with intrinsic conflict. The foxhunt is the central character in allegorical paintings portraying the ambivalent, and at times contentious relationship between humans and animals. However, the real question posed by the hunt is the nature of Cully’s relationship with his brother, the Master of the Foxhounds and Huntsman for the oldest continually operating hunt in the United States, The Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt. The Master of the Foxhounds is responsible for the conduct of the hunt, which purports to be a fair contest between man and animal, but of course is not. In The Golden Thread, Cully analogizes the artifice of the hunt to family relations. A giant canvas depicting rolling waves and a sandy beach is juxtaposed against a cold wintery scene with a passel of dogs and mounds of snow, begging the question what is real. Through Discourse of the Chase Craig Cully forces us to examine the complicated aspirations for our own personal relationships.
For more information about Jim Waid, Robert D. Cocke, Craig Cully or Andy Burgess please contact Daphne Srinivasan or Hannah Glasston at Etherton Gallery: (520) 624-7370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Waid was born in Elgin, Oklahoma in 1942 and received his B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1965 and his M.F.A. from the University of Arizona in 1971. In 1985, he was awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. Waid’s work has been exhibited all over the country, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. His work is in the permanent collections of major public institutions such as, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Tampa Museum of Art; the Phoenix Art Museum; the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and the Tucson Museum of Art.
Robert D. Cocke
Robert D. Cocke’s paintings have evolved dramatically in both style and subject matter since he began painting in the early 1970s. But underlying all of the changes has been a consistent interest in the landscape, whether it be a pristine natural environment, or a crowded cityscape. In the first phase of Cocke’s mature work, roughly 1979- 1995, the landscape/ cityscape was the setting for expressionistic, figurative “dramas” that often contained a kind of commentary in allegorical guise, based on personal musings or events of the day. In the late 1990s, the figures disappeared, the brushwork became less expressionistic, and the subject became the landscape itself, with its potential for evoking a sense of wonder and transcendence. These landscapes were invented by the artist, but were based upon years of drawing and painting from direct observation of the landscape, in various locales. Gradually the human presence was re-introduced, but with objects placed in the landscape, rather than figures. This addition brought back the possibility of allegorical narrative as a part of the paintings’ content. Recently, in some works, Cocke has returned to the human figure, in response perhaps, to recent events in the sociopolitical sphere.
Robert D. Cocke was born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1950. He received a BFA in Painting from the University of Arizona, and an MFA, also in Painting, from the University of Iowa. Cocke has had solo shows of his work in Dallas, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Milwaukee, and Chicago. His work has been included in many group exhibitions, including the Third Western States Biennial, which opened at the Brooklyn Museum, the Florence (Italy) Biennial, “Transcending Earth and Sky,” at San Diego State University, and “Trouble in Paradise,” at the Tucson Museum of Art. Cocke’s work is represented in a number of important museum collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. Robert Cocke has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Western States Arts Federation, and the Ford Foundation (a residency at the University of Georgia). His work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including Art and Antiques, Southwest Art, and Art News. Robert D. Cocke currently lives and works in Oracle, Arizona.
Craig Cully grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where some of his earliest influences come from the area’s long-standing tradition of realist painters. He began his painting studies with his godmother at the age of five and continued to pursue art throughout his primary school education. He graduated with a BFA degree from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and earned an MFA from The University of Arizona. Cully’s work has been featured in gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the United States and in Mexico. His work is part of the permanent collection of The Boise Museum of Art, The Tucson Museum of Art, The University of Arizona Museum of Art, the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma, and the Museum of Art at Texas Tech University. Being committed to the power of the visual image, and the desire for art-making to be embraced and respected, Cully also teaches. He is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at New Mexico State University. Cully divides his time throughout the year living and working along side his wife Kelly and their two silly basset hounds, Gertrude and Bertha, in both Tucson and Las Cruces.