A peek at the art of Woolaroc’s annual ‘Best of the Best’
T. Allen Lawson’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”
As the season turns colder, Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve is warming up for a nearly three-month exhibition Oct. 7-Dec. 31.
The “Best of the Best Retrospective Exhibit and Sale” will feature eight prolific artists: painters Bill Anton, George Carlson, Len Chmiel, T. Allen Lawson, Dean Mitchell and Andrew Peters, along with sculptors Tim Cherry and Steve Kestrel. These wildlife artists have cumulatively spent nearly a century documenting nature and have received hundreds of awards. Three of them provide a glimpse into their passion for nature and the idyllic American West.
Cherry’s fascination with animals and their movements started when he was a taxidermy apprentice in Maine. But after visiting a New York foundry, he became hooked on metalwork.
From there, he began his decades-long dedication to highly polished sculptures that capture the personality and whimsy of native animals in a contemporary way.
His sculptures have appeared in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and across the U.S. and Canada.
For Chmiel, oil paints allow him flexibility that watercolors and acrylics don’t. His abstract art details the landscape without being too literal. His small “on-the-spot” paintings become part of his larger compositions.
His background in design and illustration has impacted his style; viewers call his works quirky but eye-catching.
His paintings have been displayed in museums like the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Autry National Center, the Phoenix Art Museum and the National Wildlife Art Museum.
T. Allen Lawson
Lawson depicts the quieter side of the American West with his oil paintings and graphite and pastel drawings. From the calm sentience of animal life to the sprawling beauty of American landscapes, Lawson builds layers and textures to create nuanced depth. In 2008, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush chose Lawson to create a painting for the official White House Christmas card. His works have been shown in the Brinton Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Forbes Magazine Collection and the Smithsonian Institution.
‘Best of the Best’ opening weekend events
Lecture presentations from artists Steve Kestrel and Andrew Peters
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Oct. 7 | Woolaroc Events Center
Lunch at the Lodge
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Oct. 7 | The Woolaroc Lodge
Retrospective exhibit, sale and cocktail reception
6 p.m., Oct. 7 | Woolaroc Museum
Visit woolaroc.org for tickets. Special hotel rates are available for guests attending the opening weekend events. Woolaroc is located at 1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road, 11 miles south of Bartlesville.