Brad Price: Enchanted Expressions
October 18, 2018 - Kelly Skeen
Known as “The Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico’s harsh desert beauty has inspired artists for decades with its magical light, infinite sky and captivating color palette. Oklahoma painter Brad Price is similarly infatuated with New Mexico, particularly the northern region, which has been the focus of his work for the past three decades and is naturally the subject for his solo show, “Enchanted Expressions.” “It is the tortured beauty of the area,” he says when asked about his fascination with the southwest landscape. “When you look at the twisted pines, the crooked cottonwoods, the eroded landscape, you feel that it has survived through adversity. The whole place looks incredibly wise, like it knows more than you do, like it could tell you some amazing stories about pain and survival.”
Brad Price lives in central Oklahoma but travels to Santa Fe four to five times a year to witness seasonal shifts and the subsequent effects on land and light. With a camera in hand and sketchbook in his pocket, Brad Price documents and absorbs his experiences in nature, which he later releases onto canvas back in his Oklahoma studio. While we often recognize familiar landmarks in his work such as Ranchos de Taos or the Rio Chama, we experience them in new and exciting ways through Price’s dynamic perspective and distinct painting style. Meandering strokes of unblended color give life and feeling to stoic mountains, swaying grasses or swift moving water. Price’s rich and exaggerated color palette heightens the land’s emotional impact and elevates New Mexico’s natural vibrancy. Trees cast purple shadows on adobe walls while chamisa bushes glow turquoise under an evening sky.
Price’s artistic inspiration is rooted in his admiration for southwest artists, from the early Taos founders to more recent painters such as Robert Daughters or William Hook. Perhaps his most evident mentors, however, are the Post-Impressionists. Price’s latest body of work for “Enchanted Expressions,” pays particular homage to the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. In “Purple Ranchos Irises,” Van Gogh’s favored flowers bloom from the foreground while the iconic Ranchos de Taos and Sangre de Cristo Mountains fill the background. “I have long had a desire to use Van Gogh’s motifs in a southwestern setting,” says Price of his attempt to combine his most prominent influences.
This meshing of the Post-Impressionist vision with northern New Mexico’s magnetism is evident throughout Price’s show. His new series of paintings reflects the artist’s adventures in Taos, Ghost Ranch and more recognizable northern New Mexico locations while also embodying the emotional mindset and abstract tendencies of artists like Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin. Price’s Meyer Gallery show opens just one week before Small Works, Great Wonders® at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Brad Price was honored by the invitation to exhibit at this year’s prestigious show and sale, which brings together the nation’s finest traditional and modern western artists.
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