Tough By Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West
Star Gazing, BBQ, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Hoedown
This summer all four of the above will weirdly come together thanks to the work of one woman, Lynda Lanker. I have to confess I am enjoying myself way too much imagining groups of revelers do-si-do-ing up and down the halls of the gorgeously pristine Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. That is, until I open the pages of the companion book, Tough By Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West. My kitschy daydreams quickly fade as these powerful women come to life though the art of Lynda Lanker.
Inspired by the lives and spirits of the cowgirls and ranch women she met, interviewed, painted and sketched over the course of nineteen years, Lanker documents, celebrates and brings to life the strong women of the American West.
It’s not difficult to imagine how Lanker could be so devoted to capturing the 49 women featured in the exhibit and book. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about art, or cowgirls for that matter, but I like that she uses different mediums in her work to best represent her subjects, these people who lived and are living such extraordinary lives.
As fascinated as I am by hearing from the artist about the history and present day realities of ranch life, you can be sure I will not miss the hoedown at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
Until then, I’ll leave you with some cowgirl wisdom:
“When you live on a ranch, you don’t have to worry about “going to work’ “cause you get up surrounded by it…. Laundry is not high on my list of priorities. You do that when you run out of clothes.”
—Mary Caldwell (born 1932)
“I love that tremendously intimate relationship with creation, that day-to-day knowing the meadowlark song better than anything.
—Sara Shields (born 1968)
“when I was a young girl, you could get on your horse and just point your nose in any direction and go where you wanted to go.”
—Julia Jackson-Snyder (1915-2011)
Tough By Nature Events at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art jsma.uoregon.edu
Saturday, June 30, 6:00–9:00 p.m.
Free Opening Reception
Sunday, July 1, 2:00 p.m.
Panel: Ranch Women and Cowgirls Tell their Stories
With Karla Chambers, Jonnie Jonckowski, Susie Papé, Georgie Sicking, and Lois Stevenson
Saturday, July 7, 2:00 p.m.
Artist Talk: Lynda Lanker
Saturday, July 14, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Family Art Round-Up
Round up your family and head on down to the JSMA for an afternoon of fun! Explore the West in Tough by Nature and make “cowhide” paintings and wire sculpture horses.
Wednesday, August 8, 6:00–11:00 p.m.
Museum After Hours: Hoedown and Film
Put on your cowboy boots and prepare to dance at this country music, dancing, and film evening in honor of Tough by Nature. Tours of the exhibition will also be provided. At 9:30 p.m., set out your blanket or lawn chairs for a free outdoor screening of Cat Ballou (1965, 97 minutes). Sponsored by McKenzie River Broadcasting, Northwest Community Credit Union, Kendall Lexus of Eugene, and private donors.
Thursday, August 9, 5:30 p.m.
Panel: Land Use and Preservation
With Gerda Hyde, Billie Roney, and Lois Stevenson