Jerry West: The Alchemy of Memory

Jerry R. West. Museum of New Mexico, $50 (192p) ISBN 978-0-89013-603-4
This striking monograph captures the evolution of New Mexico surrealist painter West’s themes and aesthetics over more than three decades. An essay by artist MaLin Wilson-Powell describes West’s eclectic childhood in a household filled with “whomever the Dust Bowl blew onto their property.” Cultural critic Rebecca Solnit describes West’s output as a “bestiary, a regional atlas, a natural history, an autobiography, a dream journal, and maybe an alchemical treatise.” The artist’s work is clearly rooted in his upbringing in the Southwest. In his artist’s statement, West writes, “To be born on the prairie means to wander all your life.” The monograph as a whole is like a wandering tour of New Mexico. The prairie landscape features prominently in West’s work—often depicted from a bird’s-eye view, usually with a touch of the bizarre. West’s surrealist tendencies make him an interesting outlier among artists from New Mexico. Illus. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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