artistsMaria Sykes

Richard Saxton

artistsMaria Sykes
Richard Saxton

Frontier Fellow June 2012

Richard's website

M12 Studio

Richard Saxton is a visual artist and educator currently living in Denver, Colorado. Saxton's work is conceived through an interdisciplinary cultural framework, and can be contextualized through social and site-based art practice. Saxton’s work has been described as contemporary vernacular, non-heroic, and an art infused with rural experience without subscribing to any one genre or culture. Saxton is the founder and Creative Director of the M12 Collective, an interdisciplinary art focused non-profit that develops their ideas through dialogical and collaborative approaches. In addition to being the Creative Director of M12, Saxton is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the Department of Art and Art History, writes books & articles, and lectures worldwide.

Hawks installed on the old one-room jail cell

Hawks installed on the old one-room jail cell

"The Majestics began in 2010 as a particular grouping of images from Richard Saxton's Rural Research Archive that focused on structures near National Parks in the American West. In 2012 Saxton joined Epicenter as a Frontier Fellow and completed the project on-site in Green River, Utah. The scope of work included drawings, on-site installations, an exhibition of photographs at the Robber's Roost motel, and a small sculptural exhibit titled Trailside Museum. The project also featured an audio soundtrack composed by Zach Boddicker of the Denver twang-rock band 4H Royalty.

Select images from Saxton's Rural Research Archive

Select images from Saxton's Rural Research Archive

Saxton's Frontier Fellowship explored landscape, nature, the built environment, history, and regional social identity. The work questions many of the forces at play in the present-day rural American West. Through Saxton's interdisciplinary approach to presenting imagery, many impressions and interpretations arise from the accumulated artworks. Questions of human habitation and ecology with remote geographies, rural ingenuity and the function of the built environment, notions of mobility, adaptability, and utopia, and the the harsh socioeconomic conditions of today's rural west are all present. Additionally, the works seem to project general feelings of isolation, loss, loneliness, as well as tranquility and wonder-all elements of life on the frontier that are still very much alive today." -Maria Sykes

Richard Saxton's The Majestics was on display from June 30 - July 27th, and includes site-specific work in and around Green River:

  • On-site installations around Green River (including remote desert locations)

  • Photographs shown at Robber’s Roost Motel

  • Trailside Museum (including audio soundtrack by 4H-Royalty) at Epicenter

  • Drawings at Epicenter

 
Poster

Poster

 

The Majestics grew out of a particular grouping of images from Saxton’s Rural Research Archive that focused on structures near National Parks in the Rocky Mountain West (Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah). Through interpreting and documenting these structures, communities and landscapes, this series seemed to focus on how the National Park System and Wildlife Area aesthetic has influenced the built and social rural landscape of today. The Majestics looks at small rural communities, and explores themes such as environment and its effects on human habitat, rural ingenuity, and chance building. Saxton invented the term “reverb design” as an attempt to define this particular aesthetic. “The idea here is to explore a rural vernacular language that has moved or reverberated beyond its intended borders" (in this case exploring how aesthetics applied by the NPS has inspired local structures in the fringe communities that surround park borders).”
 

Trailside Museum interior

Trailside Museum interior

Map

Map

Catalog

Catalog

The work from The Majestics also explores notions of mobility, adaptability, and utopia, while at the same time projects feelings of isolation, loss, loneliness, and tranquility. This new exhibition at Epicenter explores landscape, the built environment, history, and regional identity. The work questions the many forces at play in the American West today: human habitation, vernacular structures and remote geography, the function of the built landscape, the romance and reality of the West, utopian ideas of coexisting with, and preserving nature, and the harsh realities of social-economic conditions in the 21st century rural West.

The Majestics was documented into a 26-page catalog of the on-site installations, pictures displayed at the Robber’s Roost Motel, drawings displayed in Epicenter, and the Trailside Museum at Epicenter. The catalog contains writing by Dr. Robert Nauman (author of several books and articles on contemporary art and architecture) as well as an introduction by Maria Sykes (Principal of Arts & Culture at Epicenter). The Majestics Soundtrack (CD) by 4H-Royalty, a paper poster, and a paper map came with the purchase of the catalog.

  • Catalog: 8.5x5.5"; folds out to 17x5.5"; 26 pages; cardstock cover; contains one cd soundtrack

  • Soundtrack CD: screenprinted hawk; four tracks by 4H Royalty

  • Poster: 8.5x16.75"; plain paper; color print

  • Map: 11x17"; plain paper; black & white print

This project was made possible from support through the Teton Art Lab, University of Colorado, Boulder, and Epicenter.