The artwork of Walter Piehl is featured at The Arts Center gallery through Aug. 3, and the artist himself will be demonstrating his work at the Downtown Arts Market later in July.
“He’s one of North Dakota’s most recognizable artists,” said Sally Jeppson, gallery manager.
Jeppson knows Piehl and wanted to bring the “Walter Piehl Retrospective” to Jamestown.
“I have kind of a special connection with this, because I have worked with Walter over the years at the (North Dakota) Cowboy Hall of Fame and also at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo,” she said.
Piehl, a Marion, N.D., native, recently retired from teaching at Minot State University, and the exhibition now on display at The Arts Center was organized to commemorate the opening of the Walter Piehl Gallery at the Northwest Arts Center on the Minot university campus. Piehl had asked Jeppson to work with them on the retrospective for the gallery opening, which occurred last spring.
“And then I said, ‘I want the exhibit to come to Jamestown,’” she said. “It’s a retrospective so it starts at the very beginning of his career (1962) and traces all the way up until 2018.”
There are 45 pieces in the exhibition including paintings, collages, mixed media pieces, prints and drawings.
“A little of everything he was dabbling in,” Jeppson said.
His prime medium these days is mixed medium acrylic, she said, which consists of acrylic paint along with, for example, charcoal drawing and pencil.
Piehl grew up in a ranching family.
“Walter has always been drawn to cowboy life and Western culture,” Jeppson said. “He was a rodeo cowboy, he was a rodeo announcer … Western culture, the horse and the cowboy and the bucking bull are all components that he focuses on in his subject matter.”
Jeppson said Piehl has organized over the years his subjects into what he calls ‘suites,” or series, and small sections of those series are featured in the retrospective. Also included in the exhibit are some of Piehl’s own collection of saddles.
"I will always be a painter of Western Americana," Piehl has said. "The horse culture and the ranching culture were always so important to me - part of my everyday life."
Piehl will demonstrate his work as part of the Downtown Arts Market on July 18.
“His son is a cowboy poet,” Jeppson said. “Shadd Piehl is going to be opening the Market (on July 18) with some cowboy poetry. At the same time, Walter will be demonstrating the way he paints, which is very expressive and very active.” That will be followed with Jesse Veeder headlining the Market.
“It’s going to be all about cowboys ... Western culture, the arts activities will be about the horse for kids,” Jeppson said.
The North Dakota Art Gallery Association is touring the “Walter Piehl Retrospective,” which was featured at the North Dakota Museum of Art and at James Memorial Art Center in Williston.
“This is a first-class exhibition,” Jeppson said.