The Bureau of Land Management has selected Jeff Potter of Alameda, N.M., and Lewis Williams of Montrose to share their artistic vision of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument through the 2013 Artist in Residence program. Each artist spends a weeklong residency absorbing and experiencing the monument’s landscape, creating a work of art in response to the experience and then sharing their vision and techniques with visitors.
Twenty-five artists from across the nation applied for the residencies, and the winners were chosen on the basis of both artistic merit and public outreach proposals. During the summer, the artists spend time in the majestic landscape enjoying solitude while pursuing and perfecting their art.
Potter uses pastels and oil paints to capture the sensations of light and weather on the land. He also hand-pulls color woodblock and linoleum prints in the style of Everett Ruess, a legendary southwestern artist who disappeared in the canyon country more than 70 years ago.
“My intent in participating in the AiR program is to capture each day’s experience — a moment in time, a day among thousands that have passed in these canyons,” said Potter. “My artwork will showcase the majestic, unique and fragile landscape and how the ancient people built dwellings to live in harmony there.”
While Potter features light and weather, Williams captures landscapes by incorporating the stylistic qualities of iconography (the production of religious images) and the images found in nature. His more rapid plein air work is reminiscent of Van Gogh, while his more labored work is linear in its stylization.
“The national monument presents itself as an outdoor museum, and I love the twist it offers. More than 6,000 archeological sites are recorded,” said Williams. “You find them, you explore, and you make the discovery and connections. These I expect to show in my artistic efforts.”
Filled with both scenic beauty and unique human stories, the monument encompasses thousands of archaeological sites, including 13 ancestral Puebloan settlements identified for visitors. The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is believed to have the highest number and density of archaeological sites of any landscape in the United States.
Each artist donates digital versions of completed artwork to the BLM, and will schedule public presentations interpreting their experience.
For more information, call (970) 882-5600 or go to www.co.blm.gov/canm.