The Women of ‘Night of Artists’
This year’s Night of Artists features eighteen female artists and a number of genre paintings depicting historic and contemporary women of the American West.
Todd Connor’s works Siesta on the Brazos, Mama Bear, and Day Dreaming show us women of the historic West, one as she makes a stop along the immigrant trail, another as she defends her homestead against an unknown threat, and the last, pausing while preparing clothes to wash. By capturing routine moments, Connor privileges women’s labor as caretakers and protectors.
While Connor focuses on settler women, Sherry Harrington features American Indian women and children. Her paintings, Little Glow, Her Comforts, and My Little One are effectively portraits, showing off her subjects in soft repose and glowing highlights.
Mark Kohler and Gladys Roldan-de-Moras take on the subject of Tejano women in their work. In Kohler’s Lost in Thought and Mark of Beauty, we see young contemporary figures painted with flat planes of color, giving them a heightened, dramatic look reminiscent of a quinceañera glamour shot. The paintings’ stone wall backgrounds play up the charm of Texas’ old-world Spanish architecture and San Antonio’s missions, in particular, reminding us of the cultural legacy that has long influenced the region. Similarly, Roldan-de-Moras’ Memories from My Home and Davy Crockett’s Fountain pair western nostalgia with the sumptuousness of spectacle and dress. Her vibrant color palette and strong highlights serve to emphasize her female subject’s clothing and pose.
Though contemporary subjects both, Roldan-de-Moras injects western nostalgia into her work through her placement of figures—the girl in Memories from My Home partaking in the Escaramuza charra, the only female equestrian event in the competitive Mexican charrería, and the woman in Davy Crockett’s Fountain seated in the courtyard of the famous Alamo in San Antonio.
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Governor Dolph Briscoe and his wife Janey envisioned a Museum that would preserve the stories and traditions of the American West.