Influenced by his father, a rancher, horse trader & part-time rodeo producer, Walter Piehl grew up in Marion, North Dakota loving horses & rodeo. Born to be an artist, he filled his spare time with drawing & painting. A rodeo rider himself, & an announcer for thirty years, Piehl comes by his subject naturally. Images of broncs & bulls, ropers & riders tremble with action. Piehl's paintings capture the essence of the fast & furious explosive action of the rodeo, & the dynamic interaction of horse & rider. With his abstract kinetic style, Piehl, was one of the first to break from the established norm of western art a la Frederic Remington & Charles Russell. He brought new life to contemporary western painting. Drawing & overdrawing with energetic gestural brushwork, Piehl creates the sensation of movement with rich glazes of color that dance in sweeping lines that splatter & drip across the canvas.
Piehl, a popular and talented mentor, has taught at Minot State University for over 35 years and is considered one of North Dakota's most revered visual artists -- a painter of Western Americana. In 2008, Piehl received the prestigious Bush Enduring Visions Fellowship a grant of $100,000. His paintings are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Western Arts; Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; the Smithsonian Institute and the Center for Folk Life Studies in Washington, DC; the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the Minnesota Museum of Art in St. Paul, Minnesota; the Yellowstone Art Center in Billings, Montana; Paris Gibson Square in Great Falls, Montana; in addition to many other regional museums. Walter has been recognized by the ND Council on the Arts having received a Visual Arts Fellowship and by the Bismarck Tribune as one of 20 Notable North Dakotans. He has also received a 2005 Governor's Award for the Arts in the Individual Achievement category.
The community is invited to an opening reception with the artist on April 16th from 5 to 7pm ~ Gallery 126 in the main building. Refreshments will be served.