Southwest Ranch Country

Southwest Ranch exhibition, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland 

Southwest Ranch Country
January 24 -
September 8, 2012

Western Folklife Center
Wiegand Gallery
501 Railroad Street
Elko, Nevada

This exhibition sheds light on the material and visual landscape of America's ranching Southwest; the artistry of the region as represented through the vivid photography of Kurt Markus and Jay Dusard, and the work of handcrafted gearmakers including leatherworkers, silversmiths, weavers, bootmakers, hatmakers and more. During the 2014 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Wiegand Gallery  featured slide shows and gallery tours by Jay Dusard and Arizona cowboy poet Ross Knox, and leatherwork demonstrations by master saddlemakers Don Butler, Bob Park and Andy Stevens.

Southwest Ranch Country exhibition, photo by Steve Green

Photo by Kurt Markus For this exhibition, photographer Kurt Markus, of Kalispell, Montana, selected some of his favorite images from visits to ranches in the American Southwest. These western photographs capture lives of tedium, isolation and communal living among majestic sweeping landscapes, and demonstrate Markus' poetic sensibility combined with his realistic approach to image-making. His work cuts across many genres and he has exhibited and published widely, in this country and abroad. His books include After Barbed Wire, Buckaroo, Boxers, and Cowpuncher. This is the first time that Markus’ Southwest Cowpuncher photographs have been printed for exhibition. 

Jay Dusard, of Douglas, Arizona, has meticulously photographed the landscape of the American West for 45 years, and has punched cows, off and on, for over 50 years. For this exhibition, the Western Folklife Center displayed his monumental-size portraits of working cowboys of the American Southwest. The featured photograph is of Bill Moorhouse, Bob Phillips, Jeff Shipp, Jack Bowlin and Jerry Brashears of Arizona's ORO Ranch, circa 1980. Jay still shoots large format film, and the resulting images have resulted in award-winning exhibitions and extensive publication, including his acclaimed first book,The North American Cowboy: A Portrait. During the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Jay will present slide shows and stories from his ongoing and extensive work in the rural West.
...ORO Ranch,  AZ 1980, by Jay Dusard
Southwest Ranch exhibition, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland The renaissance of ranch-related craftsmanship is alive and well in the American Southwest, with these artists putting their unique stamp on an ever-evolving style. In addition to the photography of Markus and Dusard, this exhibition brings together some of the finest Southwest artists and the work they enjoy doing as either occupation or sideline, including boots, hats, silverwork, beautiful leather pieces, photographs, and more.

  Southwest Ranch Country exhibition, photo by Steve Green
Many of the items on exhibition in the gallery were for sale. Sales lists and photos of available items were available from the Western Folklife Center. Please contact Meg Glaser at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

  • Keith Basso, Rawhide Braider, Heber, Arizona
    Jay Begay, Jr., Navajo Weaver, Tuba City, Arizona
  • Scott Brown, Saddlemaker & Violinmaker, Salt Lake City, Utah via Texas
  • Bobby Burns, Saddlemaker, Clayton, New Mexico
  • Dawson Byrne, Bootmaker & Leatherworker, Wickenburg, Arizona
  • Robert Campbell, Bit & Spurmaker, Amarillo, Texas
  • Wilson W. Capron, Bit and Spurmaker, Midland, Texas
  • Leland Hensley, Rawhide Braider, Meridian, Texas
  • Jay T. Hudson, Leatherworker and Silverworker, Hobbs, New Mexico
  • Gene Klein, Silversmith, Miami, New Mexico
  • Buddy Knight, Blacksmith & Silverworker, Marfa, Texas
  • Jerry Lansing, Navajo Weaver, Shiprock, New Mexico
  • George & Kelly Martin, Leatherworkers & Bootmakers, Animas, New Mexico
  • Sarah Natani, Navajo Artist, Window Rock, Arizona
  • Scott Farrell/O’Farrell Hat Company, Hatmaker, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Bob Park, Leatherworker, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Keith “Pee Wee” Peebles, Silversmith, Marathon, Texas
  • James Redman, Bootmaker, Mertzon, Texas
  • Alfred R. Reynolds, Master Bootmaker, Wickenburg, Arizona
  • Tom Paul Schneider, Silverworker, Pearce, Arizona
  • Bud Shaul, Leatherworker, Yarnell, Arizona
  • Edith Simonsen, Navajo Weaver, Window Rock, Arizona
  • Rachel Simmons, Leatherworker, Chino Valley, Arizona
  • Baru Spiller, Silverworker, Wingate, Texas
  • Dew Westover, Bootmaker, Vernon, Texas
  • Stewart Williamson, Silverworker & Bit & Spurmaker, Portales, New Mexico

Southwest Ranch exhibition, photo by Clark PhillipisSouthwest Ranch Country is presented with support from the Nevada Arts Council, the R.C. Baker Foundation, and Margaret T. Morris Foundation of Prescott, Arizona.  The exhibition premiered during the 29th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the standing-room only opening reception was held Friday, February 3, 2012.