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Jerry R. West

Jerry R. West, Japanese Internment Camp, 2009, oil on canvas, 42 x 46 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Meridel Rubenstein, 2011 (2011.5) Photo by Blair Clark © Jerry R. West

Jerry R. West

American, born 1933

Jerry West is an important New Mexico artist. Raised in New Mexico during the depression by an artist and rancher father, West is familiar with depiction of the Southwest by Taos School, cinco pintores, etc. His work is unique in that it reflects life in New Mexico at the end of the 20th century in a manner that breaks from nostalgia. While not nostalgic, it is romantic in a rough prairie living kind of way.

Often compared to magical realist literature Jerry West's subject matter is grounded in New Mexico ranch and prairie life but his head is the sky depicting the land and people with mythological potential. A feeling of magic emanates from an expansive sky and sprawling landscape that are both subject and backdrop of West's work. He, like Luis Jimenez, depicts life in the southwest as a place with a particular personality. They are also both painting and drawing the figure and utilizing figurative narrative at a time when it was largely out of fashion-particularly in Santa Fe and Albuquerque where hard edge and post minimal abstraction were a primary interest.

Biographical information provided by Merry Scully.