Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 N. Marshall Way, announced its next exhibition opening of “William Matthews: Decades,” featuring the portrayals of the American West by Colorado-based artist William Matthews.
Spanning more than five decades of artistic talent, the upcoming exhibition will run from Oct. 10 through April 28, 2024. Matthews' ability to capture the essence of remote landscapes and their inhabitants has left an indelible mark on the art world. His diverse career has encompassed creating album covers, painted book covers and extensive global travel – all documented through his watercolor artworks.
“William Matthews’ art encapsulates the spirit of the American West in a truly extraordinary way,” said Todd Bankofier, CEO and Executive Director of Western Spirit. “Through his mastery of watercolors, he has created the essence of both the landscapes and the people that define this region’s identity. We are honored to host the ‘William Matthews: Decades’ exhibition, providing art enthusiasts with a rare opportunity to witness the evolution of an artist who shaped the genre.”
The turning point in Matthews’ career occurred in 1985 during his attendance at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Here, he encountered cowboys from the Great Basin region, hailing from the states of Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California. These experiences served as the catalyst for Matthews’ exploration into the lives of these working cowboys, unearthing new narratives that shed light on the contemporary realities of the American West.
“The American West has been a wellspring of inspiration throughout my career,” said Matthews. “The encounter with cowboys from the Great Basin region was a pivotal moment that reshaped my artistic journey. ‘Decades’ is not just a reflection of my work over time; it is an exploration of the heart and soul of the West that I am eager to share with audiences.”
Matthews’ artistic contributions extend beyond traditional materials, gracing the halls of Congress and adorning walls on three continents. The “William Matthews: Decades” exhibition brings together a collection of his most prolific plein-air watercolors, providing an intimate look into the evolution of his artistry. In addition to his iconic watercolor paintings, the exhibition will feature his ventures into album covers, posters, guitars, public art, and various other projects.
Western Spirit features regularly changing and permanent exhibits of Western and Native American art and artifacts, events and programs that bring the West’s heritage, culture and community to life.