“People often ask if the images I paint are from another century, from a bygone era. This is the West today, I say—a place where neighbor helps neighbor, where the day doesn’t end when the sun goes down.”
– Maura Allen, “Today’s West” | SouthwestArt Magazine
I studied Classical Studies (Latin) at Stanford and learned how literature, politics, religion, science, sports and more interplay within a single culture. I quickly realized the same holds true in the American West.
The way story and cinema, song and symbol, landscape and legends combine and contribute to our real and imagined view of the West is my focus. Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, Remington, Russell and dime store magazines were our first Western storytellers and shaped our views. Song, photography and film soon added to the mix — and mythology. Real issues — water, land and livestock, rodeo and ranching, traditions, family and the environment — play out every day in America’s West. How the real and imagined collide and coincide is the center of my work.
I start each piece on location, looking directly into the sun. Ranches, rodeos, and vintage Main Street are my stage. With details obscured, I look for strong, iconic silhouettes. In my studio, working on wood panel, glass and steel, I combine “Old West” elements like vintage wall paper designs, typography and other symbols with those modern day Western moments resulting in a confluence of old and new, historic and modern.