Historic Show at the 29 Palms Art Gallery

Author:   Raini Armstrong
Date:       January 4, 2020

The 29 Palms Art Gallery, in 29 Palms California, has a beautiful historic show on display through January 2020. I attended the reception this evening, and it was lovely as always. Usually, I would share with you a short summary of the show. Then I would mention the Chaparral Artists that were displaying a piece or two, but this show didn't feature any current members' work. Instead, this show featured works of founding members of the gallery! So, I get to share something special, a tip-of-my-hat to 29 Palms art history.

Several artists are being featured in the Historic Show this month including Ada Bigler, Ann Elsasser, Audrey Gillick, John Hilton, Anne Lear, Lee Lukes Pickering, Kirk Martin, Henry Mockel, Marjorie Murphy, Irene Scoggin Bertrand, Anton Thessel, Phillip Weber, John Whytock, Irene Zimmer, and more.

John Hilton has the most art being featured, and the art speaks for itself in the mood it conveys about the Mojave desert. Hilton's style has a slight three-dimensional quality to it, the scenes painted in soft hues of pink and yellow, drawing your attention to the sweet punch of dawn light over extensive vistas. His subjects of focus are the local desert beauty all around us, from distant dunes to towering mountains and palms. If you visit the gallery, take time to enjoy all the art, as some of it is conveys subtlety easily missed if you don't stand in front of each piece for a time.

Other arts featured by the 29 Palms Art Gallery highlight many beauties that the desert has to offer, from blooming cactus to abandoned homesteads. Not all the work is desert-themed, of course. Several pieces break the mold and feature incredible expanses pitting snow-peaked mountains against the dark forest, waterways, and pastureland.

Two oils present captivating scenes that include contrast, grandeur, and subtle detail that are sure to make you smile. These large framed art pieces were created in the 19th century and have been beautifully restored. Anton Thessel's "Harz Mountains," provides the viewer with an almost lonely scene, deep in the mountains where the boulders vie for attention from the life-like spruce. I was reminded that I am merely a small creature in a vast world. As I enjoyed the nuances of the scene, sounds of the forest sneaking into my thoughts, I noticed the tiny creatures, some even cloaked in the shadow of large trees.

The piece titled "Alpine Falls and Grist Mill" by Phillip Weber revs the imagination in a way that I remember classic Disney films did for me. Lights and darks dance together in the details of lichen-covered boulders. The tiny blossoms found peppering the forest floor provide contrast with the surrounding shaded world. And the grandeur of the relatively dark forest from the distant glowing mountains, with a pocket-sized town between, are all food for the imagination. The mill is arguably the anchor for a storybook mind because you cannot help picturing going home to the embrace of the surrounding white noise after your daily travels.

I much enjoyed being able to see these two pieces of art among the varying styles of Guild members over the years. I hope everyone finds an opportunity to appreciate the works on display at the 29 Palms Art Gallery before the end of January!