“In Arkansas Territory”: John Deering show at Cantrell GalleryNovember 4, 2015
John is a friend, and a kind of mentor. He’s also a genuinely great artist.There will be an Opening Night Reception on Friday, November 6, 6-8:00. The show will continue through December 24. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10-5:00.
“In Arkansas Territory” – Artist’s Statement
“Arkansas history has fascinated me for a long time, and I find so much of that history to be inviting and challenging to paint. In pursuing an artistic narrative that focuses on rendering historical subjects, some artists choose a relatively narrow time-frame on which to concentrate. Often, because of an artist’s specific interests and background, you could say the time-frame chooses them.
The paintings for “In Arkansas Territory” focus mainly on the Territorial era from 1819 to 1836, when Arkansas attained statehood. My favorite of these is my own version of “The Arkansas Traveler”. It isn’t a painting of a specific historical scene or individual, but rather depicts a scene from Arkansas folklore. I used the familiar basis of the story and title to show a slice of life from Arkansas in the early 19th century. Also, I couldn’t resist including some paintings of subjects pre-dating the territorial era; scenes that take us back centuries earlier to the time of Hernando de Soto’s exploration of Arkansas in the mid 1500’s and Bernard de la Harpe’s explorations of Arkansas in the early 1700’s. Before De Soto and La Harpe and all of the “discoveries’, of course, there was the land, and the indigenous peoples who had already lived here for many centuries. I’ve attempted to provide context for the depicted scenes which occurred much later, as well as some selected paintings of the Arkansas landscape.”