Star Liana York - A LIFE IN BRONZE

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The Ridgeway Report

January 2017

Introduction The Ridgeway Report proudly presents outstanding art and artists to a global audience. In this issue, we are excited to shine a spotlight on Star Liana York, whose a magnificent career spans forty years of stunning creativity. One of America’s premier bronze artists, Star embodies not only a passion for her work, but a lifetime commitment to growing in her profession. Her work is represented in the finest art galleries in the Southwest U.S. and she has garnered many prestigious national awards including a commission early in her career for a bronze sculpture by the Smithsonian Institution. She has been honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was chosen in 2001 as one of 30 of the most influential artists in 30 years by Southwest Art Magazine. The artist is positioned to be showcased on a global stage and welcomes new opportunities.

the Ridgeway Report


2017 showcasing master artists

to a worldwide audience ©2017 all rights reserved information:

Star and I met in the early 1970’s when I was directing a CETA program through the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission. My job, as Visual Art Specialist, gave me an extraordinary opportunity to assist a dozen talented young artists in establishing their careers and developing their marketing skills. Star, then as now, impressed everyone with her seriousness toward her art practice as well as her dedication to reaching out and cultivating a client base. Ever-expanding audiences have watched Star move to the Southwest, build her dream ranch and studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico, in the heart of Georgia O’Keeffe country, and pursue with integrity and precision her stunning bronzes. She draws inspiration from her ranch, her family, her horses and other animals, along with the pure light of the high desert environment. Her favorite moments are spent riding the many scenic trails in Northern New Mexico. We are honored that Star has allowed us to share an overview of her work with art lovers around the globe. Watch for future issues that will feature EACH of her genres in greater detail. We invite you to visit Star’s website: Contact us:

Bette Ridgeway Editor & Publisher 2

Photo Credits Underexposed Wendy McEahern Abel Roderick Pam Taylor Richard Montoya DESIGN Ridgeway Studio Sharlotte Peters Please note: The prices listed are for 2017 and are subject to future increases.

The artist at work in her Abiquiu, New Mexico studio. 3

At the Ranch, Home & Studio


Table of Contents Introduction . . .2 From the Artist . . .6 Overview of the Artist’s Career . . .7

Inspired by Lost Worlds & Ancient Peoples . . .8

Native American Inspired Bronzes . . .28

The Big Cats . . .52

Star & Horses . . .54

Rock Art Mares . . .56

Wildlife . . .58 5

The artist working on “Once Warriors” in 1982.

From the Artist “I am inspired by my perceptions of the people I meet, the animals I’ve come to know, and the magical, mysterious experiences that can happen in this ‘enchanted’ Southwest. This is a place that requires a curious, open mind and patience for it to be revealed in all its aesthetic and spiritual complexities, but is richly rewarding on many levels when time and care is given. And there is much to be learned from people who have resisted assimilation, living a traditional, simple life close to the land and the rhythms of nature. This allows an enduring cultural identity — whether indigenous pueblo or ranch life — and is what shapes my artistic vision. There is much value, I believe, in celebrating and acknowledging their unique character in the permanent medium of bronze. But the most satisfying aspect of my work lies in the process of creating. Once an idea is chosen, perhaps because of a striking Navajo dress and jewelry or the gentle humanity expressed in a subtle gesture, it is the act of sculpting that reveals to me what it is I have unconsciously responded to the moment when a character fully emerges and I am touched deeply, intimately from a subconscious level. It is this essence in a work of art that makes it intensely personal and, ironically, so entirely universal.” ~ Star L. York 6

Overview of the Artist’s Career Star Liana York tells the story of her own discoveries through her art.

While her career as a professional sculptor began in the mid-1970’s, much of the recognition she has achieved has occurred since moving to the American Southwest in 1985 — where she was allured by the frontier spirit that lingers beneath New Mexico’s austere high-desert landscape. During this time the artist has had the extraordinary experience of being invited into the worlds of Native Peoples in the region - Navajo, Apache, Hopi and Pueblo - to observe their ceremonies along with their daily rituals. She has been honored to depict ordinary children and adults along with historic figures such as the iconic Maria Martinez (1887 — 1980), the pueblo potter whose stunning pots are internationally recognized and prized. (see pg. 44) An award-winning body of work has evolved which has formed the foundation of her burgeoning career. In addition to her Native American bronzes, her wildlife - equine, cougars, mammals and more - have resonated with collectors around the globe. From miniatures to monuments, Star’s work has engaged an enthusiastic following for decades. Many of Star’s favorite bronzes were inspired by her visits to Paleolithic caves in the Southwest and in Lascaux, France. These works of art continue to play a role in connecting the timeless subjects that define her art career. An over-arching theme one sees is the artist’s career is one of fearless exploration and deep investigation of subject matter. Although Star has found the Western idiom to be versatile and powerful, she is willing to step outside the genre that has brought her great national acclaim. By choosing to be challenged by this search, she has secured the integrity of her artistic career. ~ Bette Ridgeway 7 8

a career spanning 40 years

Inspired by Lost Worlds & Ancient Peoples


“It was luck not intention... ...that brought us to the canyon rim just at sunset. But I’d always wanted to see the great Gallery by firelight - the way I imagined the prehistoric people who painted the eerie shamanic figures saw them so the timing could not have been better. A three-quarters moon was up that night and as it illuminated one side of the canyon the other was thrown into shadow. Since I was told the images were ‘several miles upstream’, I was concerned I might walk right past them. At times it felt like we were lost, but I felt continuously drawn on by something more than the fact that we had come this far. Two hours later, there they were — made even more haunting and magical by the circumstances. I sat beneath them for awhile, staring up; thinking they truly did seem to contain a supernatural energy - a half-life that had lost none of its power over the eight thousand years since they were painted.” ~ Star L. York 10

The artist sketching in the cave “Ancient Echo”. See page 14 for details. 11

In 1979, the Lascaux caves were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in order to secure their preservation in the future. In Dec 2016 the cave’s 36,000-year-old art was added to that declaration.


Bronze Art Inspired by Lost Worlds Late in 1994, an underground cavern was uncovered in Southeastern France. It contained one of the most exciting discoveries of modern times: an untouched Stone Age sanctuary of skeletons, footprints and walls covered with over 300 extraordinary drawings and engravings of animals. These staggeringly sophisticated images are radio carbon dated to be the oldest known paintings in the world, over 30,000 years old - overturning our notions of the development of art in the history of mankind. These paintings are particularly impressive in terms of techniques used to present perspective and motion. All are powerful in execution, and coupled with their environment -- dangerous, dark, difficult to reach caves that could only be illuminated with torches -- suggest strongly that their purpose was of the most serious spiritual order. "In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beasts, and that from them, and the stars, sun and moon, should man learn..." ~ Eagle Chief Pawnee, late 1800’s

We can't know for certain what significance these animal images held for Ice Age mankind, but there are clues; their placement in inaccessible caves, care in execution -- drawing from attitudes and mythologies of indigenous tribes who live closely to nature as did these Paleolithic people and from whom we can glean some understandings. But I believe the images speak to us in yet another way that goes beyond the conscious attempts to decipher their meanings. It is a gut consciousness . . . and the memory still lingers. Like peripheral vision, it requires an intuitive approach lest it be lost in too direct scrutiny. Click HERE for the award-winning Lascaux website.

Take the tour! 13

“Ancient Echo” Monument 72 x 96x 27 inches Price: $60,000 For several decades Star has been intrigued by Indian rock art - images scratched or painted on cliff and cave walls by Native Americans. For her they not only represent a unique cultural and artistic heritage, they signify "the first time in man's development that he applied a forward-looking imagination, and attempted to speak beyond the present, to the future." It was while hiking among the desert plateaus of western New Mexico with a former minister on the Laguna Pueblo who wanted to show her one of his "power spots" that Star first encountered the image that inspired "Ancient Echo". After trudging for several hours along desert sheep trails and scaling a steep talus slope, she found herself standing in an enormous amphitheater adorned with a variety of petroglyphs and pictographs. Dominating all the images was the immense drawing of what appeared to be a deer-in-velvet. Star was familiar with the crude stick-figures common to most Indian pictography, and was struck by the sophistication of the design, which was impressively rendered with style and subtlety. Because these “pictures of antiquity" cannot be exhibited in museums or galleries except in reproduction, and because Star felt that by adding select interpretive touches and giving the image a physical reality she could give this mysterious creature a new incarnation, extending its power and presence. It became the model for her next sculpture. Like the ancient artists before her, she did not strive for an ideal likeness of her subject. The exchange of weight in the legs has been emphasized to accent body movement, the mouth has been opened wider to make it seem as if the beast were bellowing, and the eyes are hollowed to appear skull-like, giving the entire head a primal set, a ghostliness. As well, the rough surface texture of the cave wall is retained in the animal's coat which, juxtaposed to the simple lines and economical shape of the overall composition, present elements that often define contemporary art. While capturing the animal's spirit, Star has given the sculpture a timelessness, making it a very ancient piece or very modern one, depending on which way you look at it. Star has reproduced this bronze in a large scale, as a literal monument to "those silent images that visually speak to us from the past." 14

“There is a timeless quality to much rock art that comes, in part from the aesthetic sensibilities that created it. Many of the designs have a sophisticated sense of style and subtlety. In their economy and simplicity they often have a look that is modern as well as primitive...and seems to emit an echo that resounds in our subconscious”. ~ Star L. York


“Sacred Bull” Edition size 50 24 x 22 x 12 inches Price $6,000. In Ancient Greece, the bull was revered as one of the most powerful divine animals, particularly during the golden age of Mycenae. There are still excavated remnants of wall frescos from that period depicting the “Bull Dancing,” a thrilling display of athleticism and bravery. Gymnasts would confront a bull in an arena and “dance” with it, dodging and ducking from the bull’s attacks, ending with the spectacular moment when the athlete grabs the horns head on, and allows the bull to toss their bodies over its back, flipping in a somersault and landing on their feet.



“Call of the Caribou” Edition Size 35 29 x 32 x 19 inches Price: $8,500

In this sculpture, I wanted to give the sense of the rock art drawing actually emerging from the rock wall to come alive again, as if being called back from the ages past. The cave painting that inspired “Call of the Caribou” was found in the Lascaux cave, carbon-dated at 22,000 years old.



Ancient Artifacts Persian Hawk, Sumerian Goat, Minoan Bull & Egyptian Cat Bronze Edition of 35 Sizes vary with base: 9 x 4.5 x 5 inches Price: $2,100

I have always had a particular interest in the power of ancient artifacts and what the mysteries are that they show us of our ancestors, and so have been drawn to recreating them in my sculpture. I find that doing these bring me a deeper understanding of what is they can tell us. Since the very origins of human consciousness, there is evidence that humans understood future, and sought to influence it to improve their survival. Using animal helping spirits to carry prayers and messages to the highest power is a practice found in every culture throughout the world and throughout time. With this body of work, I wanted to expand on the series I began years ago of sculpturally recreating ancient drawings, paintings and petroglyphs. These works include artifact influences from cultures worldwide and from different periods of time, because they show how pervasive and consistent this practice was from all corners of the globe. These animals taken from a variety of historical artifacts, are sculpted to reference their origin, but to have them to appear to be coming alive, animated from the dormant stance they have been in for centuries….answering a kind of summoning. Hearing the call from the shaman, they are beginning to move. 20


“Tribal Stallion“ Bronze Edition of 35 28 x 24 x 5 inches Price: $3,800

“Tribal Stallion” was inspired by the [pictographs, ledger art, and teepee paintings from our own continent...specifically from the Northwestern tribes of the Sioux, Crow, Blackfeet, Cheyenne and others. These drawings and paintings flourished once these tribes were introduced to horses as riding and burden animals. That introduction created the Golden Age of the Horse within those cultures, prompting the creation of these equine designs. Because of the huge impact these horses had in battle, many of the horse images were strongly masculine.



“Tundra Spirits” Bronze Edition of 35 28 x 21 x 12 inches Price: $7,000

The Paleolithic drawings, particularly of the mammoths and rhinos inspired the artists/shamans to paint their tusks in repeated fashion to imply movement, just as they often used shading to suggest three dimensions and volume.



Dream Urns These vessels were created for interaction and receptacles for our secret dreams. The top animals and birds are palm sized, intended to be held in hand to help us focus our thoughts on those things that matter deeply to us. Some people use them as urns for their beloved pets who have passed on, but remain close in their hearts. Some have said they write wishes or desires on notes to keep in the vessels. However they are used, they are meant to aid us in spiritual and heart connections.

“Crow Vessel” Dream Urn Bronze Edition of 35 13 x 6 x 5 inches Price: $2,500 26

Talismans & Fetishes Spiritual Liaisons The idea of animal fetishes intrigued me, partly because of my own experience with animals. They showed surprising intelligence, sensitivity and healing abilities. I had been aware of animal fetishes in the Southwest that are still carved and collected.. My interest in learning about mythologies and cultures of indigenous tribes brought up how integral the animal world has been in all the old stories passed down through generations. Raven, owl, and coyote appear again and again as creatures that move between the physical and spiritual worlds. Specific animals are considered “totems” and “spirit helpers” that aid in navigating the trials of physical existence. Once a person recognizes which animal is his/her personal totem/helper, a carving is made of the animal, and other objects can be added to the carving to enhance its strength and protective properties. So, my “Talisman Series” is my personal approach to this idea.

Talisman “Black Jaguar” Bronze Edition of 35 20 x 23 x 21 inches Price: $7,000

“Healing Bear” Fetish Bronze Edition of 35 6.5 x 8 x 3 inches Price: $2,500



Native American Inspired



Native Peoples — My Inspiration “When I was commissioned to do a sculpture of an Anazazi man doing a sand painting for an historical diorama for the Smithsonian Institution, the experience changed my direction and my life. Prior to that, I had been sculpting miniatures cast in silver and gold, which were, in subject matter, mostly animals and mythological creatures. The energy was all dynamic compositions. With this commission, the Anazazi man was in a crouching position over his work, and his focus was on the laying down of the colored sand in delicate patterns to create a healing circle. The sculpture was much larger than my previous work so it allowed much more subtle expression in the face, and I found that working on creating a personality, a believable character, very rewarding on a level I hadn't experienced before. And once completed, having the sculpture sitting in my studio gave me a sense of a real presence. Since then, it is what I most seek to achieve in my work. The experience also ignited my interest in Native Peoples, particularly of the southwestern region of our country. It coincided with my decision to move to the Southwest to be near the foundry in Santa Fe that I had begun using. I was delighted to see how accessible their cultures were with the Indians bringing their crafts and art to sell, and the pueblo Feast Days and dances, and the colorful, traditional dress .....all of it was exotic and fascinating. My experiences going with my author husband out to the Navajo Reservation to do research on a non fiction book that he was writing, took my understanding to a more personal level. It offered an opportunity to learn about many of the Navajo who live deep in the reservation, which is a world unto itself. I had a chance to see ceremonies that are not open to the public, and meet people who rarely went beyond the borders of the reservations. It was remarkable, and became a driving force in my work”. ~ Star L. York 30

Star’s bronzes have succeeded in capturing authentic aspects of the region with convincing realism and stylization. Her use of color in patinas has established her as one of the most prominent sculptors in the American Southwest. She has received widespread acclaim for her versatility of form and subject, as well. Star was raised in rural Maryland, where, in high school, she was winning scholastic awards for her miniature sculptures cast in gold and silver. She studied at the University of Maryland, The Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and the Corcoran in Washington, DC. After teaching lost wax casting and metal design at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, she sharpened her focus on developing a serious career in sculpture. Her move to the Southwest in 1985 presented her with opportunities to experience her life-long love affair with the people and the magic of the region - up close and personal. The body of work she has created since, conveys a deep love for the culture, its history and diversity. Further, she made the connection of indigenous wildlife to the myth and mysteries of ancient sacred sites. Her ongoing visits to these historic sites fuel her desire to portray the relationships of the ancient peoples to their artifacts. Star believes there is much to be learned from those who live a simple life, close to the land. “When a character emerges from a work I am

sculpting, I feel touched at a deeply intimate subconscious level. It is this essence in a work of art that makes it intensely personal and entirely universal at the same time”, says the artist. 31

The artist is shown working on the clay for “To Market” which became the bronze above.

“Prayer Chant” Bronze Edition of 35 30 x 24 x 24 inches Price: $10,500 Since the very origins of human consciousness, there is evidence that humans understood the concept of future, and sought to influence it to improve their chances of survival. Using animal helping spirits to carry prayers and messages to the highest power is a practice found in every culture throughout time. The intervention of holy men/shamans/medicine men to enhance spiritual connection is a tradition practiced by cultures worldwide as a very sacred ritual. Summoning these spirits in times of crisis (whether in healing, hunting, battle, etc. ) to carry prayers to the highest deity was seen as a matter of life and death. I chose to create a holy man based on what I have been most familiar...a Native American from my own continent. The Oglala Sioux medicine men were the subjects of several historical books about Black Elk and Crazy Horse that influenced me decades ago, so I selected this tribe. This seemed like the right sculpture to express my feelings about the significance of seers and wisdom keepers through my art. To me, in an era when we are facing global environmental concerns and are not so in tune with the natural world, it is prudent to recall how mankind has traditionally handled overwhelming challenges. In this sculpture, this holy man is in a prayer trance, using chanting, drumming, and wafting the smoke of burning sage over himself, by using his eagle prayer fan, in order to reach the state of consciousness that puts him in touch with helping spirits. In this altered state, he can appeal to these helpers and divine powers for aid in facing troubled times.

An early photo of an Oglala Sioux Medicine Man. Courtesy 32


“Kokopelli” Bronze Edition of 35 20 x 15 x 15 inches Price $ 3,900

The Ballad of Kokopelli A strange lonely figure stares out of the past where engraved by an artist in stone Held firm by the sand in which he is cast, these last thousand years quite alone. Could he be listening, trying to hear moccasins scuffing the butte? Bringing the people once again near to hear Kokopelli's sweet flute? His image inscribed on a thousand rock faces from east to the great western sea; From Sonora's hot sun to the north glaciers bases, proclaiming this loved tutelary. Though powers possessed and methods employed are often in open dispute; One thing is agreed, the people did love to hear Kokopelli's sweet flute. This stick figure man, with a hump on his back seemed always to cast a good feeling; His magic perhaps, taken out of his pack would comfort the sick and do healing. Whatever his talents, they surely were grand, a fact no one cares to refute, As people would come from afar in the land, to hear Kokopelli's sweet flute.

~ Glenn Welker, Indigenous Peoples’ Literature 34


“Water Song” Monumental Fountain Bronze Edition of 15 53 x 33 x 53 inches Price: $32,000

"Water Song" features a young Anasazi woman sitting on a rock washing her hair. In this piece, Star wanted to capture those quiet, reflective moments that women frequently enjoy while performing the daily rituals of self-maintenance. "These routines, such as brushing your hair or bathing, give us private time when we can escape into thoughts that take us faraway from daily cares," she says. "Whether fantasizing about a dream lover or composing the lyrics to a personal song, these private moments, I believe have always been precious to women." The life-size "Water Song" is mounted on a faux stone model of an actual boulder. Although modifications can be made to accommodate specific sites, the way in which the piece is currently designed allows the sculpture and the stone to sit in a pool of water. A submerged pump pushes a stream of water through plumbing already installed within the sculpture, which is emitted through an opening in her hair where her hands appear to be wringing water into a bowl. As the bowl fills with water (as if she is so lost in her thoughts she doesn't realize what is happening in front of her) the water spills over, dropping into a natural cup in the rock, and in turn overflowing into the pool where it is re-circulated by the pump.. The sound of trickling water scores her meditations like a musical background - thus the title "Water Song".



“Touch the Earth” Monument Bronze Edition of 25 40 x 10 x 20 inches Price: $21,000

Corn pollen is still a sacred part of ritual blessings and prayers in many Native American cultures. This tradition is the inspiration behind "Touch the Earth". In some tribes particularly the Navajo, pollen is used for blessing the most simple act, person or place, as well as in the most elaborate ceremonies. The power of the pollen is considered greatly enhanced by dusting the wings of an eagle or hawk, captured for such purposes. The bird, placed over a buckskin, will shake off the pollen, which is then carefully gathered from the buckskin, and kept in a pollen pouch for future use in blessings and prayers. In "Touch the Earth", the woman is using the pollen for a prayer. The hawk suggests the strength of the pollen's power, and she is barefoot, touching the earth to further open the channel between herself and the spirit world..



The “Fabric of Life” Suite The suite consists of four sculptures that reflect the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each represents a stage in the creation of a wool weaving. . . . from the raising of the sheep to the blanket’s use. Interwoven is the life of a Navajo woman, going from child, mother, grandmother and finally elder, I will call her Nizhoni. “Winter Warmth” (top left) Nizhoni, with her husband, has reached elder status, and together they walked thru the golden years of their full lives. He wraps the beloved blanket over her… the weaving she finished with such pride so many years ago. In their faces are the lines that tell the story of lives well lived. Shared was much love and laughter, despite hardships, and they now face their last years with peace and contentment. The weaving warms them, shelters them, and connects them. . . .an art piece from her heart and hands; an integral part of who they are and the life they’ve shared. “Autumn — To Market” (top right) A mature woman and weaving artist at this stage of her life, Nizhoni travels to market with the weavings of her family. She is a mother with her own grown daughter now, and she proudly carries the precious cargo of three generations: her mother's, her daughter's and her own....blankets woven from their own hands with skill, care, and love. “Summer Spinning” (bottom left) Part of the process of turning wool into weavable yarn is drawing out the “carded” wool after shearing the sheep into thinner, finer thread. It requires pulling the wool thru fingers with a twirling motion as it is wound onto a spindle. Nizhoni has become a young mother who teaches her own daughters by example as her mother showed her and her mother did her, going back generations. Before weaving into intricate patterns, the yarn may be dyed with natural pigments. These patterns are developed from a sense of aesthetic influenced by the dramatic beauty of the surrounding desert environment. The symbols used also reflect their beliefs & myths. Often the design may tell a story of either the tribe or family history that also incorporates their cultural values. So, not only does this mother pass along the skill of creating yarn and weaving fabric, but also she teaches the symbology of their culture. “Spring” (bottom right) In this first sculpture Nizhoni learns to care for and nurture the sheep and their lambs. From this responsibility comes an understanding of the rhythms of nature. Even today Navajo children raised in the cities are often returned to the reservation to live with and learn from the grandparents for a period of time. Having the experience of their traditional old ways that are the backbone of their culture can give them a strong foundation for life. Tending sheep is a valuable chore to the family that is part of this education. This is the beginning of the young girl’s life, as it is the necessary beginning stage of the creation of the wool for weaving. 40


“Grandma’s Gifts“ Bronze Edition of 35. 24 x 24 x 24 inches Price $ 14,000

The elders of all cultures are the wisdom keepers… those that can pass down invaluable lessons thru stories, legends, and example. Whether seen as gifts of the dolls, or gifts of her stories that pass the legacy of their people to the younger generation. The essence of this sculpture is the value of this giving relationship between grandmother and child. In Pueblo cultures of the Southwest, such elders instill a sense of virtue, self worth, and tribal pride thru stories involving deities called Kachina’s. These Kachinas play a crucial role in the survival and spirituality of the people. Kachina dolls are given to young girls to help teach them the significance of various deities. Here the “mudheads”, the “koshare”, and the kachina “mother” and “maiden” represent the traditional tribal dolls. To acknowledge the outside influences in today’s Pueblo cultures, a teddy bear and sock monkey join the audience that listen with the granddaughter to ancient legends. 42


“Maria Martinez - The Art Spirit” Bronze Edition of 35 24 x 22 x 22 inches $8,500

Commissioned by the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, N.M. “I wanted to capture an expression that gives us a glimpse of her delight in the creative process...a reflection of the “art spirit”. ~ Star L. York

This is a portrait of the pueblo potter, Maria Martinez (1887-1980), which I was asked to sculpt by the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, NM. Maria's gloss black on matt black pots are internationally known, and she is given credit for helping Native American creations to be taken seriously as fine art. Millicent Rogers had collected many of her finest examples, and the first sculpture in this edition now resides in the museum's "Maria Martinez" exhibition hall. I wanted to capture an expression that gives us a glimpse of her delight in creative process....a reflection of the "art spirit". 44


“Virgin Spring” Monumental Fountain Bronze Edition of 15 64 x 20 inches Price: $44,000 This woman, wrapped in a blanket either because of a slight chill after undressing for a bath, or out of modesty despite the implied private setting, tests the water delicately with her toe in anticipation of a refreshing bath. Does the title refer to the source of water for this bath? A private sanctuary she alone knows of and is therefore untouched? The reference could point to the woman herself in the springtime of her life; new to womanhood, virgin in her coming of age. It connotes a private moment when the woman is lost in sensations. Absentmindedly she fingers her necklace, distracted by how things feel, smell, and sound. The cool air on her bare skin, the prickly rough woven wool, the woodsy scents of dew on leaves and grass and fallen trees, the gurgling spring, chatter of birds, rustle of leaves stirred by a faint breeze. When we feel new we become aware of even minute sensations. Perhaps she has risen from intimacy with her lover (she wears a chief's blanket) and is feeling reborn in her discovery of herself as a woman. She contemplates descending in to the clear cleansing pool, a ritual we associate with rebirth, and reflects the pure contentment of the moment on her placid face. 46


“Te Ata” Bronze Edition of 35 28 x 20 x 20 inches Price: $7.800

This sculpture is intended for the 9 ft monument to be installed at the Oklahoma State Capital Park in Oklahoma City. The plan is to create a park lined with historical figures from Oklahoma's past. The first chosen to be sculpted was Te Ata, a Chickasaw/Choctaw woman who was an actress in the first half of the 20th century. She developed a play based on the life of her family and ancestors, intertwined with Oklahoma history. The show was so popular she performed all over the world, often for kings & queens of many different countries. She became an honored ambassador of our country's culture, basing her stage play on the oral tradition of storytelling. 48


“Range Duty” Edition of 15 75 x 33 x 44 inches Price: $63,000

Here a stock-man who has come upon a maverick calf while riding the range is trying to start a fire, and as usual the weather is not cooperating. The raindrop spilling from the brim of his hat, the way he uses his coat to shelter the fire, and the application of a dark patina which mutes all colors except the bright yellow slicker - combine to give the feeling that the scene takes place in a windy, drizzly, gloomy afternoon. Star's father is a talented woodworker. As a child she spent many hours working beside him in his basement shop. He would supply her with a board on which she would draw an animal, cut the design out with a jigsaw, and round the edges with a file before painting the piece. She credits the ability to make things with her hands, in part, to his early encouragement. As a tribute to her father's steady patient way of working with the materials at hand, when Star decided to do a sculpture which depicted a cowboy dealing routinely with adverse conditions, yet gleaning a certain satisfaction and serenity from simply doing his job, she drew on her father as both inspiration and model. Evident in "Range Duty" is Star's affinity for the quiet contemplative moments that are as much a part of life in the West as dramatic action-packed incidents. Also demonstrated is her concern for details which make the piece authentic. Note the short shank on the branding iron, characteristic of "saddle irons", which are small, light irons, more easily transportable on horseback than branding irons used in the corral. The down-turned angle on the shank of the man's spurs reveals that he is short in stature. Star's ability to get both the look and the feel right is what gives her sculptures a life of their own.

"The Highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it" . ~ John Ruskin "Every man's work is a portrait of himself"“. ~ Anonymous "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. at work worth doing"“. ~ Theodore Roosevelt "Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a life-purpose; he has found it , and will follow it”. ~ Thomas Carlyle 50


“Echo in the Canyon” left Bronze Edition of 35 37 x 21 x 19 inches Price: $10,000

“Cougar” opposite Edition of 35 26.5 x 48 x 23 inches Price: $12,,000

“I have always loved big cats. It is something about their quiet power. They have a regal sense that shows up in their spirits “. ~ Star L. York In this series Star has focused on individual personalities that she believes can be glimpsed best in moments of relaxed repose. She says, most often humans today experience wildlife at a distance and on the move...animals, whether domesticated or wild, have a character as individual as humans, and sometimes reflect this character in their facial or body expressions. The capturing of a tell tale gesture or glance is what she finds rewarding in these works. 52


Star & Horses A black Morgan with more spirit than the Forest Service could handle introduced Star Liana York to the horse as both a companion and as an aesthetic object. A high school student, York purchased the animal for $250, including all its tack. From that day forward, she has been intrigued by the fluidity of line and mass of horse anatomy and by the animal’s fiery instincts held in delicate balance by the rider. Such might also define York’s artwork. Tutored by the passion of her ballerina mother and the precision of her woodworking father, York developed both the skills and the desire to make her emotions manifest in art. Scholarships lead to exploring the lost-wax process and to miniature sculptures of fantasy creatures. Over the past decade, those subjects have evolved in style and content, digging ever deeper into the universal rhythms that unite us with earth elements and animal spirits. Her tabletop and life-size bronzes divide into two distinct bodies of work¾stylized, simplified animals inspired by paintings on the walls of Horseshoe Canyon and other ancient caves and more detailed representations of Native peoples engaged in outward journeys driven by inner needs. York continues to express the internal/external dichotomy in training horses to respond to a rider without a bit on a polo field. In the flurry of action, where flight is natural, the rider’s intellect and animal’s impulse work as one. The bond of trust joining ancestral memories on the playing field is expressed once again when the artist releases her emotions in clay. This series of horses inspired by equines painted, drawn and sculpted in the Renaissance period by artists such as Leonardo DaVinci, show a more masculine side of subject. Most of the Cave paintings from the Paleolithic period were more strongly feminine, expressing pregnant mares often in herds. 54

“Mare of the Renaissance” Edition of 35 24 x 21.5 x 12 inches Price: $6,000

“Horse Whispers” Edition of 50 12 x 14.5 x 9 inches Price: $4,500

Opposite: “One and One Half Horsepower” (life size) Edition of 15 67 x 104 x 32 inches Price: $86,000 55

Rock Art Mares These playful bronzes were inspired by images the artist discovered while hiking and riding through the canyons of the Southwest U.S. Moved by the power and beauty of the ancient cave drawings and pictographs, she created her own interpretation in her Ancient Impressions series, of which Rock Art Mares, and the Rock Art Minis, are a part. A horsewoman since her youth, York has enjoyed many equine disciplines over the past decades including breeding, raising and training. Above:


Roll” Mini

“Rock Art Mares at Play” Mini

Bronze Edition of 50 5 x 6 x 3.5 inches Price: $1,200

Bronze Edition of 35 Sizes vary from 5 x 7 x 3. inches Price: $6,800


“Roll” Life size 42 x 33 x 26 inches Price: $30,000


“Sassy & Coquette”

Minis Bronze Edition of 35 15 x 15 inches each Price: $6,800

“Truly the most remarkable part of my experiences is discovering how much I have learned from working with these magnificent animals. This has become a very valuable and integral part of my life”. ~ Star L. York



“In the Morning Mist” Bronze Edition of 25 “Key Deer” (largest) 37 x 34 x D 22 inches Price: $10,000 ~~~~

“All Legs” (two in foreground) and above 32.25 x 36 x 18 inches & 21.25 x 21 x 15 inches Price: $6,000 White tail fawns and does always strike me as beautifully delicate and vulnerable...a dichotomy given they remain so abundant. Despite the shrinking of their habitat and the amount of predators they live amongst, they are amazingly resilient. This sculpture is titled “In the Morning Mist” because I had the rare opportunity of happening upon this family of three many years ago when I was out camping in the wilderness, and went for an early morning walk to go fishing at a pond nearby the campsite. I have never forgotten the magic of that moment. 58


“Call of the Wild” Edition of 35 19 x 37 x 25 inches Price: $7.700

In this sculpture, the canine is half wolf and half dog, bridging the two worlds of the domestic and the world. I have friends who have coyote and dog crosses as well, and I believe genetically they remain closer to their wild roots, being more haunted by howling wolves and coyotes than their domesticated counterparts.


“Jack O’ Hearts” Edition of 35 14 X 28 X 11.5 INCHES Price: $6,000 Jack rabbits are very plentiful n the southwest.

“Little Prince” (below) Edition of 50 8 x 10 x 6.5 inches Price: $1,800 “I enjoy capturing the small rabbits and bunnies that flourish on the ranch. They have such happy personalities.” says the artist.

“Orbs” (above) Edition of 35 14 x 11 x 8 inches Even the owls around the ranch have great personalities. This one seems to be a permanent resident. 61

“Missing Lynx” front and back view Edition of 35 13 x 40 x 24 inches Price: $7,000


“Paws a Plenty” Edition of 35 20 x 30 x 15 inches Price: $8,000 This is a bobcat with her brood of kittens. She has been alerted to something and it has captured the interest of the babies, though they still like remaining close to Mom! Photo: The artist with the clay in her studio in 1982. 63

The artist finds much inspiration watching wildlife interacting with other creatures and their environment. Black bears and ravens seem to spend much of their time amusing themselves, and it is certainly entertaining to see their antics that reflect their personalities and intelligence. She has seen surprising evidence of this at both her ranch and in wildlife sanctuaries’ natural habitats that she has visited throughout her lifetime.

“Puppy Love”

“The Joke,” “Jokester” & “Guffaw” (below)

Edition of 35 14 x 18 x 12 inches Price: $5,000

Edition of 35 13.5 x 16 x 9 inches : “Guffaw” - 15 x 15 x 11 inches: “Jokester” Price: $3,200 each — $6,000 the set


“Peaches” (right) Edition of 35 11.25 x 8 x 10 inches Price: $3,000

“Friendly Advice” (below) Edition of 35 17 x 19 x 18.5 inches Price: $5,000


“Nuzzling Burros” The first horse born at my ranch over 20 years ago I named Shyloh, and she turned out to be the most affectionate mare mother I have ever seen. Equines don’t tend to show physical affection the way many other mammals do. She birthed 3 foals here, and I happened to get photos of her with her little black colt, Jett, that inspired the sculpture “Horse Whispers” and “Nuzzling Burros”. Jett turned out to be one of my main riding horses for over a decade, and Shyloh is still with me as well. When I went with my cousin, Pam, to a local ranch to study burros for the sculpting of “Nuzzling Burros” ( a ranch in Chimayo that raised them and had over 60 burros) , I was quite charmed by how friendly the burros were towards us….curious about everything we carried and wore, and trying to wrap themselves around us as we tried to get photographs of them. Though Pam was unused to equines and was nervous about it at first, it turned out to be a fun and amazing experience for us both.

“Nuzzling Burros” maquette Edition of 35 15.5 x 10 x 7.5 inches Price: $5,800 66

Nuzzling Burros was inspired by this photo taken by the artist at her ranch.

“Nuzzling Burros” Life size 5 x 4 x 3 feet 67

York’s sculptures have received numerous national awards. In 1998 she was honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK. In 2001, the artist was chosen as one of 30 of the most influential artists in 30 years by Southwest Art Magazine. A film on bronze casting. View the artist’s film on “Wisdom Keepers”.

The Ridgeway Report 68 ©2017, all rights reserved

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