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Space Silence Spirit: The Life and Art of Maynard Dixon


One of America's most accomplished illustrators, Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) rendered the peoples and landscapes of the West with a modernist sensibility and sought to bring to his audience the essence of an untamed and oftentimes inhospitable land. On October 9, 2003, at 5:30 p.m., when the exhibition Space Silence Spirit: Maynard Dixon's West opens at the Santa Barbara Historical Society, Guest Curator Abe Hays will share his expertise on this unique artist in an illustrated program and will sign copies of the exhibition catalogue. Throughout Dixon's life, the West remained remote and alluring, dangerous and mysterious. His prolific career focused on California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, where he sketched and painted contemporary Indians and rapidly disappearing western landscapes.

By his own admission, what Dixon chose to paint was selective and romanticized. His creed, according to Mr. Hays, was simple: "Find the truth in the West's spirit, its vastness, solitude, and power; interpret the land's relevance to people and its dominance over their very spirit and lives; and, finally, with enormous clarity, simplicity, and honesty, portray the culture of the Native Peoples and their special metaphysical harmony with the land, their gods, and lives."

Following its engagement at the Santa Barbara Historical Society, the exhibition will travel to other museums in the Southwest including The Albuquerque Museum and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

Mr. Hayes has organized several traveling exhibitions of his collections, including the artworks of Will James and Gunnar Mauritz Widforss. Abe Hays is president of Arizona West Galleries and resides with his wife, Lalla in Paradise Valley, Arizona.


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