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Picturing the West

Dixon Symposium Rapid Recap 5

Rachel Bloom at a MOA Symposium

By MOA Marketing & PR Manager Riley Lewis

Day two of the Maynard Dixon Symposium began with a session focused on Dixon’s relationship with the western places for which he is best known. Hadley Jerman, Senior Curator at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, spoke on Dixon’s work with billboards. Billboard magnates Foster and Kleiser sought aesthetically pleasing, modern portrayals of western landscapes and activities, and Dixon soon became their top billboard designer by renegotiating stereotypes about the west and its inhabitants. Some of these billboards are mirrored in later Dixons paintings.

Former MOA Curator of Photography Diana Turnbow compared Dixon’s landscapes with photos from the MOA collection, particularly as they juxtaposed man-made structures within landscapes. Next, Rebecca Bloom, Assistant Director at the Southern Utah Museum of Art, shared three Dixon works in the SUMA collection and the curious ways in which they found their way to Cedar City. Finally, PhD Candidate Jonathan Hacker discussed Dixon’s explorations of the atmospheric qualities of the west. Dixon used his unique style of depicting clouds, storms, and haze to “haunt” his landscapes and give the land itself agency.

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