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July 4 - July 29

Ellen Dudley’s exhibit is featured in the Northern Trust Gallery from July 4 to July 29, 2020!

Mustangs in these paintings have just been gathered off their wild ranges. At the first round-up I attended in Wyoming’s untamed Red Desert, I discovered a whole new aspect of mustangs and re-affirmed what it is I love to paint.

Once they are in the pens, the horses seek out clan members and huddle together in sculptural configurations that express a dominant gesture of the whole group while individual gestures express strong emotions ranging from defiance to fear, longing, suspicion, acceptance, comfort in numbers, etc. In some eyes I see wisdom and curiosity. (As the wild horses take the measure of their new circumstances and the two-legged creature is there a memory of us humans and a time when they, the horses, were domesticated?)

At the mustang pens I begin to see beyond the usual and toward a wider perception of nature and mustangs. As if that revelation, the visual fascination with sculptural forms, and the exhibit of so many emotions weren’t exciting enough, wonder-full discoveries continue back in the studio in the process of painting. I am delighted and surprised all over again by the patterns, the strength and quality of morning light, the juxtaposition of warm and cool colors, the rhythm of forms. I love discovering that the pattern of light coming through a fence is picked up in dapples on a rump; that a glimpse of vertical white legs repeat the pattern of horizontal white fence poles; how fence shadows and horse shapes dance together; how anatomy is arranged so that a parade of ears lines out over a mountain range of rumps.

I hope my excitement and pleasure in making this art comes through to you, dear viewer, and that you will accept the invitation to pause and look and enjoy the stories you find in these paintings.” Ellen Dudley