A Grand Collection: Artworks from the collections of the Grand Canyon Association and the National Parks System
Terminal 4, Level 3, Gallery
June 16, 2012 thru January 19, 2013
Arizona’s most famous natural wonder, the Grand Canyon has been capturing the imagination and inspiring artists since the 19th century. Through early paintings and photographs, the public became aware of the incredible natural beauty of the country. Thomas Moran’s paintings directly influenced the establishment of our National Park system, first with Yellowstone in 1872 and later the Grand Canyon in 1919. Today, contemporary artists continue the tradition of bringing awareness of the Canyon’s grandeur through their artwork, helping to preserve it for future generations.
The National Park Service became the guardians of important artworks as a means to educate and promote the country’s natural sites. Accumulated through donation over the years, the Grand Canyon National Park’s art collection continues to grow with their Artist-in-Residence program. Their support group, the Grand Canyon Association also has established an art collection. Acquired with purchase awards and by donation, the collection has become a tool for education and preservation.
Featuring artwork from the early 20th century through today, this exhibition is a sample of the broad scope of style and media that makes up the holdings of Grand Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon Association. Both art collections serve as a promotion or cultural advocate for the Canyon. It is this grand vision that has created A Grand Collection.
Photo credit: Bonnie Gibson, Masters of the Canyon Skies, © 2009, carved, painted gourd, 11 x 13.5” diam., Courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park
A Grand Ride: Photographs by Tom Brownold
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Terminal 4, Level 3, Center Wall South
June 16, 2012 – February 10, 2013
For more than one hundred years, mules have carried people and supplies up and down the steep trails of the Grand Canyon. These sure-footed creatures have been instrumental in the construction and maintenance of the South Rim water pipeline, the trail system, and Phantom Ranch. Instead of hiking it, visitors can still ride mules into the canyon just as the first tourists did in the 1800s. After descending through layers of rock that represent almost two billion years of the earth’s history the “dudes” astride mules reach Phantom Ranch, where they can finally dismount from their Grand Ride.
“I am always looking for interesting images...I thought that photographing the mules and the livery operation based on the South Rim would be a great means of getting to know about the mules, the guides and the support crew that make it work. After a year of twice-monthly trips to visit the historic mule barns, I have come away with a body of work that hints of the past and is of the present.”
Photo credit: Images from the book, The Grandest Ride by Tom Brownold, published by Rio Nuevo with text by Brad Dimock. Tom Brownold, Switchback, © 2009, photograph
Find out more about the exhibition from Tom Brownold during his radio interview on "Air Time with Phoenix Sky Harbor."
A Grand Home: The Art of Bruce Aiken
Terminal 4, Level 3 (eight cases - east and west ends)
June 2, 2012 thru January 13, 2013
Artist Bruce Aiken had a dream of leading "an exceptional life in an extraordinary place." For 33 years that dream was his reality, living in the Grand Canyon where he worked, raised a family and painted.
In 1970 at the age of twenty, he left his home in New York City and moved west with a desire to live near something beautiful. Landing in Arizona he took art and geology classes, where he met his future wife, Mary. In 1973, he talked his way into a job with the National Park Service as Pump House Operator near Roaring Springs below the North Rim. He had never before turned a wrench, but he desperately wanted the work because it came with the best accommodations he could imagine: a house deep within the Grand Canyon.
Aiken, his wife and 9 month old daughter moved into the two-bedroom house complete with a helipad. Located in a side canyon, along Bright Angel Creek and surrounded by sheer rock walls that climb thousands of feet, it was so remote that a trip to the grocery store required a 5˝ mile hike to the North Rim and then a 250 mile drive to Flagstaff. The couple stayed for more than three decades, raising three children.
In the beginning, Aiken was so intimidated by the canyon that he could only sketch it in a notebook, analyzing its rock layers and botany. After three years of studying, he worked up the courage to begin painting the Canyon and never stopped. Living in the Grand Canyon gave him an intimate understanding of its changing light, textures, colors and patterns that inspire his art. Today, his paintings include images of vast expanses of peaks, plateaus and chasms as well as enlarged geological details of rock that look abstract. Aiken’s art results from living and working in A Grand Home.
Photo credit: Bruce Aiken, Under Deva’s Sway, © 2009, oil on canvas, 30 x 24”, Courtesy of artist
“What If . . .”
Ceramics and Drawings by Michael Prepsky
Through August 5, 2012
Terminal 4, Level 2
Michael Prepsky has been exploring clay’s artistic possibilities and qualities as a studio artist and teacher for several decades. His approach has been in the “what if I do this”
mode of working. His aesthetic perspective has been nurtured by the joy of discovery.
For Prepsky the physical process of manipulating the clay provides spontaneous expression and the immediacy of artistic thought. He achieves a variety of textures and finishes on
his work by using his knowledge of glaze chemistry and kiln firing techniques. The same glaze may be fired a multiple of times or at different temperatures or a combination of both,
often with pleasing results or “happy accidents”.
For this artist, the physical process of working with clay and experimentation is as important as the finished artwork.
Photo credit of above image: Jason Grubb.