Geoffrey Gersten, "American Westerns" 2021

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GEOFFRE Y GERSTEN



September 21 - October 2, 2021 Jackson Hole Artist Reception | September 25 | 5:30-7:30pm

GEOFFRE Y GERSTEN American Westerns

Jackson Hole | Scottsdale | AltamiraArt.com

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Buckaroo Sport Oil on canvas | 21 x 36 inches Enquire

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GEOFFREY GERSTEN For Geoffrey Gersten, the happenstance has recently shed light on the heroic. While working on a large composition of a cowboy, he printed out a photo of the underpainting at FedEx—a step he sometimes takes to gain visual perspective. Upon seeing the image of a brown wash of a silhouette—the clerk shared that his father had just passed away and left him his jacket—an authentic Marlboro Manbrand shearling from the sixties. He smiled as he shared stories of the heirloom. “It was an odd moment of connection,” Gersten recalls. Compounding the oddness, the artist returned to his studio to find the painting changed: in his absence, a droplet of paint had dried in the shape of a teardrop cascading from the rugged face. A stranger’s loss, mysteriously registered in the artist’s material rumination on the lasting symbolism of the cowboy, contradictions and all.

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Weeks later, amidst moving with his new Maltipoo puppy, Gersten unpacked a wideformat art magazine that he’d been saving to read. Ever playful, the puppy began tugging on the glossy tome, tearing a page out. Gersten recovered the stolen snippet and found it read “American Westerns,” the headline of an article exploring the layered resonance of the classic novel, Shane. Spontaneous inspiration for the title of his new series of paintings. For years, Gersten has listened to John Vanderslice’s “Song for David Berman”—the singer/songwriter’s 2013 reflection on the problematics of Western history—pausing

on the penultimate line, “Massacres are disguised as battles all the time.” He knew that truth would someday filter into his art. And now it has in the form of canvases as lines of inquiry, compositions as intriguing as the song lyric itself. With his paintbrush, Gersten asks why the cowboy continues to be so appealing, in spite of his problematic history? Why does he remain so broadly captivating? He posits in paint: In this era of lost purpose, when nothing truly threatens us but our own species, the confident character speaks to our base belief in good and evil. It is in dichotomous conflict, in fighting for something and for survival. Cowboy as mythic mission, riding into the value void.

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American Western Oil on canvas | 66 x 52 inches Enquire

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Cowboy Story Oil on canvas | 56 x 40 inches Enquire

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Clarabelle Oil on canvas | 24 x 30 inches Enquire

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Rider from Nowhere Oil on canvas | 54 x 41.5 inches Enquire

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Edge of the Hourglass Oil on canvas | 42 x 40 inches Enquire

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Those Whom the Gods Oil on canvas | 56 x 84 inches Enquire

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Great Basin Bronco Buck Oil on birch panel, round | 16 x 16 inches Enquire

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Diamond Cross Oil on canvas | 42 x 36 inches Enquire

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My Finest Hour Oil on canvas | 60 x 48 inches Enquire

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Marlboro Girl Oil on canvas | 48 x 38 inches Enquire

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Rodeo Queen Oil on linen over wood panel | 36 x 24 inches Enquire

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Dude Ranching Near Phoenix Oil on linen | 48 x 36 inches Enquire

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Marlboro Sunset (Like an Ocean between the Waves) Oil on linen | 60 x 44 inches Enquire

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Lost in the Dream Oil on canvas | 60 x 48 inches Enquire

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172 Center Street | Jackson Hole Wyoming AltamiraArt.com | 307-739-4700

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