Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Imaginary West • Dave Wilder

February 16, 2007 - March 27, 2007

Dave Wilder brings his unique blend of humor, surrealism and Old West imagery to an all-new show at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery. This solo exhibition of new and recent watercolor paintings features many never before exhibited works. The shows theme is ‘The Imaginary West’, a place the artist describes as “the borderland between historic reality, and the myths of the American West”. The public is invited to join Dave Wilder for a gala opening celebration at the Gallery on Saturday, February 16th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served and Western singer-songwriter Dan Rice will provide the music. The exhibition will continue through March 27th, 2008.
Montana Lisa • watercolor, 20x14"
Indian Country • watercolor, 28x20"
Rustler's Moon • watercolor, 28x18"
Buffalo Feathers • watercolor, 20x14"

"I'm very excited about this show,” says Wilder, “I feel that this is the best work I've ever done; it's the culmination of years of effort”. In the past those efforts have produced some memorable images. In Wilder’s West, cowboy hats float through the sky like an armada of alien spaceships, cows wear cowboy boots, Indians blow bubbles, and purple teepees sprout pink flamingos out front. Speaking from his Camp Verde studio, Dave Wilder explains the thought process behind his often-humorous Western images: “I call it ‘The Imaginary West’; it's that place in our collective unconscious, where history, fiction and fancy all swirl around like a dust devil at a church picnic. Because of Hollywood and other storytellers, what we think of today as the ‘Old West’ has much more in common with mythology than it does with history. John Wayne is more real to most people than Wild Bill Hickock. But that's great if you're an artist. Reality is complicated. Myth is tidy. Our Western mythology is a great place to play around in. All of those iconic images have a sort of built-in power that communicates loud and clear because the stories are so well known. The fun comes when you juxtapose whimsy, fantasy and surrealism with traditional Western imagery to spin those icons into new and uncharted territory”.
Buffalo Gals • watercolor, 20x28"

Dave Wilder grew up and went to school in California, but has made his home in Arizona since 1991. A self taught and lifelong artist, Wilder first picked up a paintbrush at the age of five. Today, he creates sharply focused watercolors that sparkle with light, color and wit. In recent years his paintings and limited edition prints have proven popular with collectors throughout the country and over-seas. Diverse life experiences have helped Wilder develop a sense of humor and a keen eye for detail. Over the years he has worked as a bartender, a cowboy, a clerk, a back country guide, an entertainer, and a graphic artist and illustrator. Currently, Dave Wilder lives and paints in Camp Verde, AZ, surrounded by horses, goats, chickens, cats, dogs, kids and beautiful rolling ranch country. He's a member of the Sedona Arts Center, and has been involved with the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative since 1996.

The artist will be on-hand at the opening on Saturday, February 16th to greet guests and sign posters and prints. Hope to see you there!

See more of Dave Wilder's work at his website: