Let's talk about Western bronzes. You know the ones — they show bucking broncos with cowboys hanging on for dear life, or Native Americans hauling across the plains. They're vignettes chock full o' action, and many are reproductions of turn-of-the-20th-century works by artist Frederic Remington.
More than a hundred years later, those sculpted pieces continue to inspire other artists, including Los Angeles-based Drew Dominick, whose After Remington goes on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center beginning this weekend.
While clearly an homage, Dominick's work certainly adds a twist; his "Rubber Remingtons" employ supplies including Sheetrock, silicone rubber, chewing tobacco, feathers and snakeskins to impart a Gumby-like quality to them.
"They're more like 3D collages than sculpture," says the artist. "They give me a lot of variation to work with."
Dominick, 50, lived in Denver as a youth, and his family had a farm in Wyoming. "He had an original Remington in his house in Wyoming," explains FAC museum director and chief curator, Blake Milteer, "which is part of the overall narrative."
The artist went on to get a BFA from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He's concentrated on sculpture all along, and calls After Remington "a deconstruction project."
"I'm not obsessed with him, actually," he says of the artist, "but with the horses and how he represented them."
"Remington romanticized the West," notes Milteer. "This is the difference between the two artists. Remington lived in New York and visited the West. He played at being a cowboy, but [Dominick] lived the West. He lived here, worked on the family farm in Wyoming, spent time in Montana. He knows what the West is about."
Milteer says that among artists, there is a long tradition of reproducing the works of the people they admire. It helps to ground the artists' work by giving them the history and background — where art has been, in other words. By knowing this, an artist can better know where to go with his or her own work.
"[Dominick's] is an amazing response to very specific Remington pieces," he says. "When you see him working with these materials to get his head around the works, it's done to honor Remington, but it infuses the work with [Dominick's] own response to his work."
Dominick has shown in many galleries, but this is his first museum showcase. And it will open to the public at the same time as exhibits of two other artists: Margaret Kasahara (tiny.cc/z5gehx) and Andrew Ramiro Tirado (tiny.cc/b7gehx).
To handle three openings, Milteer is doing something a little different. Normally, there is a members-only event, followed the next day by the public opening. While the members opening is still on, the public is getting gallery walks by the artists.
"We're going to do an artist walk-through, with each artist present," he says. "People will be able to stand with the artist and listen to them speak about their works. It will be an intimate way to get to know the art and the artists." The order in which the artists will do their walk-throughs had not been determined by press time, but they will all have the opportunity to present their work.