Western Art Collector Magazine

Prix de West Exhibition Show Preview featuring Symbiosis by John Banovich

June 2018

John Banovich
Symbiosis, 2018
oil on belgian linen
12h x 46w in
30.48h x 116.84w cm

The Greatest West
Artists from around the country convene in Oklahoma City to immortalize the Western way of life in art.

Many versions of the West exist. Stack them against each other and they look like genres on a bookshelf: mysteries, dramas, action adventures, romances, historical memoirs, anthropologic studies, pulp thrillers, nature and wildlife, architecture and travel. Each one offers a different, and very tiny, perspective on the American West. Stand back far enough and these little stories start to reveal larger ideas, grander visions and more complete narratives. They illuminate the Western way of life from every angle.

Nowhere is this more evident than at the Prix de West, one of the premier Western art events in the country. The Prix, organized and hosted by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City,brings together more than 100 top artists working today to allow them to proclaim the magnificence of the West. This year’s show, which opens June 8, will once again present masterworks from many rising young stars, respected veterans and everyone in between.

“Our 46th annual Prix de West exhibition and sale is both a visual and social showcase of how the museum celebrates the American West through incredible art,” says museum president and CEO Natalie Shirley. “It is our honor to host famed principle artists along with their paintings and sculptures of the highest quality found in today’s studios, galleries and museums.”............
.............Wildlife painter John Banovich takes a more direct approach to animals with his panoramic painting Symbiosis, featuring buffalo running through heavy snow and scattering nearby magpies into the cold winter air. “The black-billed magpie has a long and sordid history with Native Americans and bison. In this symbiotic relationship, the magpies are often found near bison herds feasting on the ticks and ectoparasites found on the shaggy beasts,” he says. “Interesting that the magpie often caches its hoard for consumption at a later date…While the magpie is in the crow family, it is arguably one of North America’s most intelligent birds, and also one of its most beautiful. With a long, iridescent colored tail and wing patches, white chest and wingtips, and coal black face it can be found roaming alongside bison herds across the west. While its diet consists mostly of ground dwelling anthropoids, seed and carrion, it does fancy the blood rich taste of bison and elk’s parasite nemesis…I wanted to portray the movement through the cold air and deep powder of these two symbiotic partners.”