Southwest Ranch Country Exhibition Opens




Contact: Darcy Minter, 775.340.4240
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Southwest Ranch Country Exhibition Opens at
the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Elko, Nevada—Opening in the Western Folklife Center's Wiegand Gallery during the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the exhibition Southwest Ranch Country sheds light on the material and visual landscape of America’s ranching Southwest. The artistry of the region is represented through the vivid photography of Kurt Markus and Jay Dusard, and handcrafted gear of some of the region's master craftsmen. On display January 24 - September 8, 2012, the exhibition’s opening reception is Friday, February 3, from 3:15 to 5:30 pm. During the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, February 2-4, the gallery will feature 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.

For this exhibition, photographer Kurt Markus, of Kalispell, Montana, has 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 features his monumental-size portraits of working cowboys of the American Southwest. 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.

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.

  • 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 Country is presented with support from the Nevada Arts Council and Margaret T. Morris Foundation. Photographs available upon request.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the nation’s greatest celebration of the American West, its people, culture and traditions. The 28th Gathering will take place January 30 to February 4, 2012, in Elko, Nevada. Every January for the last 27 years, cowboys, ranchers, rural and urban people have traveled en masse to the small community of Elko, to join with friends, family and all those who share their love of rural life in the West. Together, they listen to poetry and music, learn about cowboy culture in the U.S. and around the world, experience great art, watch western films, learn a craft, and gather together to eat, drink and swap stories. Programs at the 28th Gathering will focus on the southwestern United States, specifically Arizona and New Mexico—which are celebrating their centennials this year. In addition to the Southwest Ranch Country exhibition, the Gathering will present poets and musicians from the region, as well as workshops and panel discussions focused on regional food, culture and agriculture.

The Western Folklife Center, a regional nonprofit organization, produces theNational Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Visit the for more information about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Southwest Ranch Country exhibition. Tickets to the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at, by calling 775-738-7508, toll-free 888-880-5885, or by stopping in to the Western Folklife Center’s ticket office, 501 Railroad Street, Elko.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.