Bill Dixon, Jr. is a famously gifted artist, whose works, whether of the Nascar world, abstracts, or Native themes and landscapes, are hauntingly realistic.
He is a brother of legendary jeweler Carl Clark, and exhibits the family’s prodigious talent, in his own medium.
This enchanting painting of wild horses running free is a beautiful example of his style of poetic realism. It goes beyond realism, to touch emotional and mystical feelings.
The Navajo are known for their horsemanship, and were once raiders, before being confined to their reservation.
Beautifully depicted in naturalistic detail, there is a dream-like aspect to the painting.
This work evokes memories of a time when the plains were home to herds – and groups of people – who were free to roam where they willed.
The thrilling beauty of the galloping horses is both emotional, and an example of virtuoso technique.
Bill credits his grandmother for fostering his knowledge of painting: “…she schooled me in the techniques of using colors to draw light and shadow, teaching me that nothing the eye sees is just one color.”
And here is the result: a magically realistic vision, suffused with light and shadow, as if the flesh-and-blood horses were also phantoms, fading into the past.
The foreground is rendered in crisp detail; each blade of grass, whether sunlit, or in deep shadow, is distinct.
As the distance away from the viewer increases, the forms and details become hazier and more indistinct, until the horses in the far back almost dissolve into the light.
There is a thrilling, thrusting movement toward the left, as the horses all run in the same direction.
But, their manes and the grasses bend toward the right, and the grey horse at the far left lowers his head, which also brings the eye around.
The lovely golden light that radiates from this picture is anchored by the dark green and brown foliage at the forefront
These details add up to a masterful control of the painter’s art, and result in endless enjoyment for the fortunate viewer.
Bill Dixon is rightly acclaimed as a leading American painter. This extraordinarily beautiful picture shows why.