Cattle Track Legends: Philip C. Curtis, Fritz Scholder & Mark McDowell

12/18/2015 Cattle Track Legends:  Philip C. Curtis, Fritz Scholder & Mark McDowell

Cattle Track Legends:  Philip C. Curtis, Fritz Scholder & Mark McDowell

February 11 – March 31, 2016:  Opening Reception – Thursday, February 11, 5:30 – 7:30pm

It is fitting that a property so rich in history, dating from the 1930’s when George and Rachel Ellis purchased the land and grew it into today’s Cattle Track Arts Compound, was and is the homes and studios of three of Arizona’s most iconic artists, Philip C. Curtis, Fritz Scholder and Mark McDowell. 

Larsen Gallery has the honor of hosting Cattle Track Legends with Curtis’s striking portrayals of the “real and unreal” in his magic realism paintings as well as Scholder’s 1970’s “real Indians” depicted in paintings and works on paper.  We will also host the stunning drawings on birch wood by Mark McDowell.  This exhibition will coincide with Super Indian: Fritz Scholder which opens up at the Phoenix Art Museum on February 26th, 2016 and features many of his most iconic 1970’s works.  Philip C. Curtis was a founder of the Phoenix Art Museum and the museum’s Ullman Center is dedicated to his work with an ongoing display from the museum’s extensive collection of his work.                   

Mark McDowell will be included in a group exhibition at the Tucson Museum of Art titled Into the Night: Contemporary Art and the Nocturne Tradition from February 27, 2016 thru July 10, 2016 and includes two of his works including the painting Fire Hydrant, Night Skies.

Enigma is a word often associated with Philip C. Curtis’s psychological paintings which have been stated they often leave more questions than answers to the viewers.  His more than 500 paintings and many more drawings and watercolors, as well as his influence on a host of local artists, deemed him the dean of Arizona artists.  Curtis lived at Cattle Track from 1947 until his death in 2000.

Fritz Scholder was also an enigma in that he never wanted to be known as an “Indian painter” and yet his most sought after works are his early paintings showing what he termed “real Indians” where clichés were broken down and Natives were often portrayed in contrast to the romanticized images of past.  His signature images became Indian cowboys, Native Americans wrapped in American flags and other controversial images such as Indian at the Bar, depicting a Native American with a Coors can of beer.  Scholder moved to Cattle Track in 1972 and lived there until his death in 2005.

A relative newcomer to the Cattle Track Arts Compound compared to Curtis and Scholder, Mark McDowell moved to Cattle Track in 1994.  He built his own home on the property using recycled materials from various sources.  He has maintained his painting and drawing studio as well as founded Tiny Satellite Press for the publication of artist’s works including books, catalogs, portfolios and photographs in tiny editions ever since.  McDowell was friends with both Curtis and Scholder and collaborated with Fritz Scholder to produce his last etchings prior to his death.

Scottsdale’s history is enriched with the story of the formation and expansion of the Cattle Track Arts Compound from the 1930’s till today.  Many artisans, writers, performers and even statesman have lived, created or performed on the Cattle Track property.  The collaborative and artistic efforts of the Ellis family, beginning with George and Rachel and continuing with their daughter Janie, have provided countless artists to thrive in the desert with notables Philip C. Curtis, Fritz Scholder and Mark McDowell among them.




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