Dreams of the West are anchored to the distinctive landscapes of the region, spanning from vast plains and desert dunes in Arizona to verdant hills and wondrous mountain ranges in California. The potential promise and peril of the West created a wealth of stories featuring the adventurers and dreamers who populate the landscape and cross its borders. Their experiences, as depicted in the artwork on view here, activate our own dreams and understanding of the West.
Drawing from the museum’s permanent collection and important loans, the exhibition looks to the complex relationships between landscape and the body in the art of the American West and Mexico. With landscape as an active figure, the works on view communicate distinct stories about the desert, spirituality, Hollywood and cinema, and touch upon our own dreams about Western icons. Juxtapositions between traditional and contemporary artwork contextualize these themes, spurring challenges to our romanticized notions of the West. Additional contexts in the form of interpretive material drawn from film, fiction, first-person stories, and music animate these stories and represent a range of voices that connect to the landscape and the people depicted.
This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum.
Jessie Homer French, Mapestry California 2012, fabric, thread, fabric paint, and pen, Museum purchase with funds provided by Robert Shiell © Homer Handling Corp.