Abstract artist Tim Yanke showcases his passion for the American Southwest with a new exhibition titled Call of the American West. The exhibit features more than 60 of the noted artist’s paintings and mixed media works. This remarkable show is on loan from the Park West Museum in Southfield, Mich.
Born in Detroit, Mich., in 1962, Yanke first became fascinated with the American Southwest in the mid-1970s while visiting his sister at Northern Arizona University. He found the region’s distinctive color palette, from sandy brown to Chili-pepper red, to be immensely appealing. Later, as an art student at North Texas University, he developed a penchant for abstract art, with the works of such 20th-century masters as Kandinsky, Klee, Pollock and Rauschenberg exerting a major influence.
In Call of the American West, Yanke combines his dual passions with a series of Western art paintings that seemingly leave no color combination unexplored. Multi-hued butterflies and dragonflies are a common motif in Yanke’s Western paintings. Yanke endows these winged creatures with consider color and energy. At times, they seem ready to pop off the canvas and take flight. Native American headdresses are another recurring subject. Yanke superimposes realistic-looking headdresses over splashes of seemingly random colors. It’s as if the worlds of Frederic Remington and Jackson Pollock have suddenly collided. The artist achieves a similar effect in his overpainted photographs. In Call of the American West, photos of Chief Joseph of Nez Pearce, Lt. Col. George Custer and Johnny Cash find themselves awash in Yanke’s trademark colors.
Tim Yanke was one of the first artists featured at the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center when it opened as a jewel-box art museum five years ago. The MACC is thrilled that he is returning to with some of his most spectacular Western paintings.