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The wide world of Stanton Englehart

Stanton Englehart’s painting “April” will be on exhibit at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum. (Courtesy of Sharon Englehart)
New exhibit opens at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum

If there’s one thing the Southwest has, it’s expansive views aplenty. And a local artist who captured those massive vistas was landscape painter Stanton Englehart, who founded Fort Lewis College’s art department in 1961 and was a professor there for more than 30 years. He died in 2009.

An exhibit of Stanton’s work – “Stanton Englehart: My Calendar” – will kick off with an opening reception Friday (Sept. 8) at the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum in Dolores. The show will be on display through December 2024.

The exhibit will include pieces from Englehart’s “Calendar Series” as well as “Home” landscapes and “a really cool assortment of mixed-media work,” said his daughter, Sharon Englehart.

“The show will include the 12 ‘Calendar pieces’ – that’s over 170 feet of paintings,” she said. “It includes two, four-part paintings, each one of those are about 16 feet wide, when they’re put together to center panels and then to end panels ... called ‘Home.’’ Then there’s 18 mixed-media paintings. And there are two more large oil paintings that we just put up because we just like it.”

While the show features the pieces from “Calendar,” Sharon said there’s enough variety in the exhibit to keep people from looking at just one type of work. In fact, she said, because both she and her father were educators, there’s the hope that audiences, especially the younger ones, will get something out of the paintings.

If you go

WHAT: Stanton Englehart: My Calendar exhibition.

WHEN: Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 8). Exhibit on display through December 2024.

WHERE: Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum, 27501 CO-184, Dolores.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://tinyurl.com/5ezmdtuf.

“Education was always a really important part of what he did and what I did ... I’ve taught art for 33 years,” she said. “I’m really hoping that groups of kids can go in there. ... You can look big but also look close, and I think it would be really interesting for kids that live over in that area to see how that landscape is interpreted and go home and paint their own little masterpieces.”

It’s that idea of looking big while looking close to Englehart’s landscapes that still resonate with people today, especially given the changing nature of land in the Southwest.

“My dad (grew) up over by Lewis, and I think grew up very aware of the natural environment. His dad was a dairy farmer,” Sharon said. “He used nature as a way to deal with, I don’t know if he was ADHD or what they would have called it back then, but he was definitely a person that was in motion all the time. He spent a tremendous amount of time outdoors and observing.”

Englehart’s paintings are ready to hang for the upcoming show. (Courtesy of Sharon Englehart)

As a child, he was fascinated by little crop-dusting planes that would fly overhead and kind of draw a line across the sky, she said. And if you look closely, these horizon lines are present in a number of his paintings. “Growing up, he saw fencelines and was very sensitive in the ’60s and ’70s to how land was being subdivided and changed.”

Add to that the way people’s perception of space and time is rapidly changing because things like the internet and climate change are shrinking our world. “We just don’t have that post-Depression, agricultural view of time and space anymore,” Sharon said, adding that’s what keeps people coming back to Englehart’s work.

“If I had to just come up with one takeaway about this whole process, it’s when artists are working, I think they always wonder, will the work survive past me? Will it have meaning significance, relevance, beyond just me as a person and all of my connections and relationships?” she said. “He had a lot of that in the community. And I think that work is even more relevant and significant now than it was back then. Particularly this ‘Calendar Series.’”


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