Walt Gonske Oils
"In the past, I would have an idea for a painting and hold to that idea through to the finish. I could pretty much see the end result before I started. There were no surprises. But now my understanding of the process is that the idea is just the first impulse. From that first impulse forward, improvisation takes over. The end result is not about that first idea, but is instead a record of all those impulses along the way. Each stroke of paint carries emotion and power. I work in a loose, painterly style in part because I want the viewer to see the process and not hide it behind 'finish;' for the viewer to maybe even feel how a particular piece of paint was put down.
Painting is not about reproducing nature. I like the notion that art should have more to do with the communication of the artist's emotions to the viewer through the paint itself.
My goal in the work is not to show what I know, but what I feel. The more intensely I can express emotion though paint about the subject, the more likely the viewer will respond. All I can do is make an honest effort and then accept without judgement. To remain neutral about the paintings and to not judge them as good or bad is very important to moving forward.
My best work comes when I'm able to give up control, to trust my impulses. Then the painting takes on a life of its own. When I don't know what is going to happen next, the process becomes full of surprise and wonder.
We go to art school to learn the rules about drawing and painting. After many years of developing skills and acquiring knowledge, I know what I will get as a finished product if I control the process. What I don't know is where it would lead and what would happen if I gave up control. This is what interests me now.
It's a different way of thinking - or not thinking so much. To remain empty of all preconceived ideas about how a piece will turn out. It's simply a mind-shift away from repeating what I already know and to allow that unknowable, creative spirit to come through.
That's easier said than done of 40 years of learning how to do this thing called art. But all that stops one from stepping into unknown territory is doubt and fear. If I'm willing to give up control over my skills and ability to do things a certain way, then new forms and techniques will come to me."
- Walt Gonske
Born: 1942, Newark, New Jersey
Education: Frank Reilly School of Art, New York City, New York
1977 - 2006 National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
1974 - 1977 Founding Member, "The Taos Six"
Selected Awards and Honors:
2006 Featured Artist, The Gilcrease Museum Rendezvous Exhibition
1989 Gold Medal, 1st Place in Oil, National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK
1983 Silver Medal, 2nd Place in Oil, National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK
1976 John and Anna Lee Stacy Award
1975 Bronze Medal, 3rd Place Drawing,National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, OK
2007 Taos Art Museum and Fechin House One Man Show
2005 Nedra Matteucci Galleries One Man Show
2002 - 2005 Salon d'Arts, Denver, CO
2003 Forbes Trinchera Ranch Invitation and Exhibition, Fort Garland, CO
2002 - 2007 International Masters of Fine Art Invitational, Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX
The Dunnegan Collection, Bolivar, MO
The Eiteljorg Collection, Indianapolis, IN
The Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
The Wm. & Joffa Kerr Collection, Oklahoma City, OK
The Morton and Donna Fleischer Collection, Scottsdale, AZ
2009 Patrons Without Peer - The McCloy Collection
2006 Erivan & Helga Haub Family Collection of Western Art, Vold I & II, Christine Mollring
2006 Landscapes of New Mexico, Susan Campbell & Suzanne Deats
2005 Plein Air Magazine, December
2005 Art of the West, November-December
2005 The Art of Ann Templeton: A Step Beyond
2003 American Artist, January
2002 Wildlife Art, November - December
1996 Art of the West, May-June
1992 Modern Art Impressionists, Ron Ranson, David and Charles Pub
1985 Southwest Art
1982 Contemporary Western Artists, Peggy & Howard Samuels
1981 Treasures of the American West, Harrison Eiteljorg
1976 40 Watercolorists and How They Work, Susan Meyers, Watson Guptill Pub.