The artist, Billy Schenck, has been known internationally for the past 43 years as one of the originators of the contemporary “Pop” western movement, and an American painter who incorporates techniques from Photo-Realism with a Pop Art sensibility to both exalt and poke fun at images of the West. Like the heroes he idolized in B-Westerns, Schenck might well be called the “Good Badman” of Western American art. Early in his career he became known for appropriating cinematic imagery, which he reproduced in a flattened, reductivist style, where colors are laid side-by-side rather than blended or shadowed.
Drawing upon narrative tensions that have attracted mass audiences to western fiction and movies, Schenck added hot colors, surreal juxtapositions, and stylized patterning to explore clashes between wilderness and civilization, the individual and community, nature and culture, freedom and restriction. His irreverence in associating western heroes with racism, the drug scene, consumerism and sexuality led to an evolving series of works. Among them one finds deserts populated with cowgirls sipping champagne on the bumpers of Rolls Royces, Native Americans contemplating the statistics of their land loss, and “cerealized” self-portraits of the artist in leather and sunglasses.
The “cinematic” western serigraphs of contemporary artist Bill Schenck, exhibited by The Tucson Museum of Art. Produced for Tucson’12′s DTOWN.