George Carlson has never subscribed to any “ism.” As the only person in history to be honored with the Prix de West Purchase Award—the top prize in Western Art—in two different media, he also has never seen himself as a “Western artist,” at least not in the way it has celebrated iconic landscapes, cowboys, and indigenous people.
But Carlson does believe in a way of seeing that is articulated by many, going back to the ancient Greeks. It is embraced by American master realist Andrew Wyeth and by Carlson’s friend, painter Robert Lougheed. Their maxim is this: Nature provides all the truth one ever needs to portray meaning. The only thing artists need to do to perceive the elemental life forces happening all around us, which includes the humming currents of ancient rivers, the sounds of the wind, the tympanic rumbles of the sky, the strata of geology written in the earth. It also involves observing the ways that people and animals, since time immemorial, have moved across landscapes.
Read the full article in the January/February 2022 issue.
Song of the Open Road
27” by 53”
37” by 29” by 20”