Visions West Contemporary, Denver, CO is pleased to announce Revised, a show featuring the works of artists Billy Schenck, Justin Colt Beckman, and Bryan Christiansen. All three artists challenge the mythos of the American West with a reimagined cast of roles used to convey a modern commentary on this discourse. Stronger roles for women, a more sympathetic portrayal of American Indians, and an intimate connection with animals— these artists debunk the longstanding psyche of the west.
Credited for being one of the originators of the “Pop” Western Movement, Billy Schenck incorporates techniques from photo-realism and pop art which include brightly juxtaposing colors and patterns. He explores themes such as the clash between wilderness and civilization, freedom and restriction, and nature and culture.
The subject of Schenck’s oil on canvas paintings and serigraph prints ranges from imagery taken from Spaghetti Westerns, to his iconic Punk Cowgirls, and his striking western landscapes. He uses the same silk-screening technique as Andy Warhol, whom he sites as one of his main inspirations.
Schenck studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design and the Kansas City Art Institute, and later moved to New York where he was greatly influenced by many prominent photo-realists, color field, and minimalist painters of the era. His work can be viewed at museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, Denver Art Museum, The Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Booth Western Art Museum, and the Tucson Museum of Art to name a few.
Justin Colt Beckman is a Washington-based artist who creates digital black and white collages from found images. His work is based upon a study and commentary on urban/rural dichotomy and its associated stereotypes. He says that through art-making, he is able to live vicariously through the rural activities depicted in his pieces.
Beckman received a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in 1998 and a MFA in sculpture from Central Washington University in 2008. He is also a founding member of PUNCH gallery, an artist-run space in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. His current studio situated in small-town Thorp, WA plays along with his affinity for town-and-country living, as can been seen in his works.
Bryan Christiansen is a South Dakota native who creates dynamic animal sculptures out of discarded household furniture scraps such as wood, glass, and fabric. In acknowledgment of Native American traditions, he makes sure that nothing goes to waste by salvaging and reusing all of the materials he finds. Christiansen’s sculptures are influenced by 1950s assemblage artists Bruce Conner and Ed Kienholz, who used gritty discarded objects to probe such issues as the passage of time, death, and decay, however Christiansen incorporates more delicate hand stitching and floral patterns.
He received a Bachelor in Fine Art from the University of Nevada, Reno with a minor in Philosophy in 2009. He has exhibited throughout the U.S., with his most recent solo exhibition “Woodstock” currently on view at the Dahl Fine Arts Center in Rapid City, SD. Christiansen has been the recipient of several honors including the Sierra Arts Endowment Grant and The Nevada Museum of Arts’ Emerging Artist Honorarium. Other honors include “Best in Show” from The San Jose Museum of Arts, Kristen Evangelista and a faculty nomination for the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.
This exhibition will include an opening artists’ reception starting at 6pm. The works of Schenck, Beckman, and Christiansen will be on show in the gallery through the end of the month.