John Warren Travis
Sangre de Cristo
For his latest collection, San Francisco-based artist John Warren Travis turns to the rugged and magical landscape of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Known for his lyrical linework and deft brushstrokes, Travis reimagines the blistering hues, cool blues, and picturesque terrain of the area in a series of small graphite, Caran d’Ache and oil pastel works on paper. Ranging from intimate renderings of native plants--including manzanita and mesquite trees and chamisas saltbushes--to the infamous alpenglow that appears on the snowy mountain peaks, Travis captures the drama and beauty of this storied scenery that is now endangered.
Travis’s larger body of work draws inspiration from his surroundings, often using nature as his muse. Paring down landscapes into halos of color, fog, light and linework, the artist captures the drama and mystery of the unique places and scenery he chooses to emulate. There is an element of intimacy and meditation in his work as lines allude to the shifting perspectives of tree limbs, branches, leaves, and the views beyond. His alternating spare and generous images evoke an ever-changing landscape.
Travis received his MFA at Stanford in 1967 and is a retired Professor Emeritus from the Department of Drama, University of California at Berkeley where he taught Costume Design and Costume History. He has won numerous prestigious awards for costume and theatre design and has translated his love of line, movement, and drama into his paintings and works on paper for the last 15 years. He maintains an active studio and exhibition practice and, most recently, was commissioned to create a suite of thought and design sketches for a solo show at the Museum of Performance + Design in tandem with a staged-reading of "Oedipus, The King" at SFIAF in which Travis was a co-producer. His work can be found in numerous private collections across the country and is in the permanent collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA, and at Sumner House, Pomona College, Pomona, CA.
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