Artist Statement | Maura Allen
Work and play, story and cinema, landscape and legends—they all layer together to shape our view of the American West. Real and romanticized, the West is the center of my work.
I start each piece on location, looking directly into the sun; ranches, rodeos, and vintage Main Street providing the perfect stage. I’m drawn to iconic silhouettes—strong graphic elements to tell big stories.
In my studio, working on wood, glass and steel, I weave “Old West” elements including vintage wallpaper designs, typography and other symbols with modern day Western moments. The result? A sense the past is always present.
I grew up in Northern California around the corner from Stanford University where the historic Eadweard Muybridge stop-action images of a running horse were taken and now displayed. I studied Latin/Classical Studies there, learning how iconic figures, myth and moments shape and define a culture. Two decades ago, I began chronicling the American West with ranchers and wranglers as my trusted guides and realized many of the same cultural forces are at play.
When I’m not on the road, Prescott, AZ, and the Williamson Valley are home. Late in the day, I like to watch the Santa Fe Railroad snake through the valley, just as it has for well over a century.
“It’s not Old West or New West—this is the West. Every day is a lens and look into to the next.”