This exhibition brings together two of the country’s top landscape painters, highlighting both the similarities and differences in their styles of oil paintings. Both artists will serve as Featured Artists for the 2018 Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium, delivering the keynote address and workshops during the week.
Born in Vietnam in 1963, Quang Ho immigrated to the United States in 1975 and is now a U.S. citizen. He first showed interest in art at age three and had his first one-man show as a high school sophomore in Denver. A National Scholastics Art Awards Scholarship allowed him to attend the Colorado Institute of Art.
He graduated in 1985, winning the Best Portfolio award among his graduating class. Art dealer Mikkel Saks took Ho’s work into his gallery and successfully promoted his art. Today, Ho is regarded as one of America’s great artists, with art in major corporate and private collections around the world.
Working mostly in oils and occasionally in watercolor and pastels, Ho’s subject matter ranges from still lifes and landscapes to interiors, dancers, and figurative works, but he says the subject is of little concern.
“Subject matter is not really important to me,” Ho says. “I can find visual excitement all around me — from a knot on a tree or graceful limp of a flower wilting, to a juxtaposition of a few simple shapes and colors . . . inspirations are inexhaustible. The real essence of painting is the dialogue between shapes, tones, colors, textures, edges, and line. Everything else follows, including light, form, concepts, personal beliefs, and inspirations. One day I may be interested in a color statement, and the next maybe a relationship of simple shapes; with every painting, there is a singular visual thought to be completed.”
Growing up in rural Lander, Wyoming, Scott Christensen’s first exposure to art was watching his wheelchair-bound grandfather paint. “What I remember best,” Christensen says, “is the smell of paint in that house.”
When Christensen fractured a vertebra in a college football game, he could have easily wound up in the same position. However, by the time he healed, he had decided to give up his first love and concentrate the intense energy and consuming passion he had devoted to sports onto art.
His studies included experimentation with numerous painting styles, viewing works by his friend Dan Gerhartz and closely studying the works of Swedish painter Anders Zorn and Russian artists Isaac Levitan and llya Repin. He also turned to the works of Sir Alfred East and Edgar Payne for inspiration, men who were quite inventive in arranging the most important elements of a scene.
Christensen explains how he uses their example as he approaches trying to capture the essence of a location: “Maybe you’re standing in a place where the sky and the mountains are very dramatic; the trees have incredible color and the water is vibrant. You have to decide what you want your painting to be about, then have the discipline to render that element most important, and then paint everything else to support it.”
Christensen was the 2000 winner of the Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy Museum, the highest honor in Western art. His work can be found in many of America’s most famous museums, such as Gilcrease, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Kimball Art Museum, and the Autry Museum. Christensen works his magic in Victor, Idaho, in a craftsman-style studio that connects to an elegant exhibition space where collectors are welcome to visit.
“East/West Visions: Scott Christensen & Quang Ho” is on view at the Booth Museum (Cartersville, GA) through January 20, 2019.