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Art Watch 10/7-10/14 

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A new exhibit featuring the work of Eugene-based fine artist Lynda Lanker opens at the High Desert Museum on Saturday, Oct. 10. Tough By Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West showcases the spirit and tradition of western settlement, ranching lifestyle, and in particular, the women and cowgirls who have played a role in shaping this lifestyle. Once a landscape of ranches and agriculture, the American West has succumbed to decades of corporate development and population growth. As a result, Tough by Nature documents a diminishing way of life.

Lanker's Tough By Nature is a culmination of nineteen years of work that includes charcoal and graphite drawings, stone and plate lithographs, acrylics, oil pastels, and egg tempera paintings documenting ranching life in the American West. The art is also accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalog, which includes contributions by Larry McMurtry, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Maya Angelou, as well as a statement by the artist. Lanker traveled through thirteen Western states for the project, sketching, painting, photographing, and collecting stories from women across the West. The exhibit features portraits of 49 iconic women ranchers and cowgirls, and each piece is accompanied by a story of the women portrayed.

The artist grew up in Wichita, Kansas, but has been living in Eugene since the 1970s, about the time she began making a name for herself as a portrait painter and watercolor artist. Among her commissioned portraits are five presidential portraits for the University of Oregon. This exhibition was organized by UO Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Lithographs and engravings from Tough by Nature are available for purchase.

Tough By Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West

9 am, Saturday, Oct. 10

High Desert Museum, 59800 S. Hwy 97

Free with museum admission

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