No Turning Back: The Art of Veryl Goodnight

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The Veryl Goodnight exhibit, “No Turning Back” • Courtesy of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

I recently had the pleasure of attending a preview party for the new Veryl Goodnight exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall-of-Fame. Goodnight will be inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall-of-Fame this fall, and after spending about an hour with some of her works, I can see why.

The Anne W. Marion Gallery in the Cowgirl museum is temporary home to 17 of Goodnight’s bronze sculptures and 11 paintings until Oct. 30. Paired together in several cases, the themes range from wildlife and horses to Western women. Each piece is as evoking as the next. Her strong moving brush strokes engage the eye and the color pallets are true to the natural world. The bronze sculptures are strong in presence and composition. The patina effects used on many of the pieces is lovely and subtle. For me, it evoked a feeling of seeing a vague memory come to life.

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A greeting card bearing an image of Goodnight’s 1994 bronze and the namesake of the exhibit, “No Turning Back.” • Photo by Holly Tarquinio

While I love paintings in general, bronze sculptures fascinate me. I love being able to see how the artist’s fingers moved through the clay. My favorite is a toss up between the life-size bronze of a Victorian era woman titled “A New Beginning” and a pair sculpture of horseback Western woman titled “Passing Times.

There is an easy-to-use audio tour available for most of the pieces in the collection. I was pleased to hear Veryl Goodnight herself telling stories about how each piece was inspired. Her love for nature and the West is evident in each piece.

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The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame • Photo by Holly Tarquinio

The preview party was well attended, which speaks to the popularity of the new exhibit. The Rotunda Hall was full of people mingling and chatting, and the exhibit itself was a maze of people. The Cowgirl Museum never ceases to amaze me. It’s a lovely space and I have yet to be disappointed by an art exhibit therein. As a city girl who grew up in the north, learning about the strong women of the West through such remarkable artwork is nothing short of inspiring. As a fellow animal lover, Veryl Goodnight’s efforts to educate with art are something I can very much appreciate.

If you’re in town for the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association show, do yourself a favor and walk across the way to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall-of-Fame and see Veryl Goodnight’s art for yourself. You won’t regret it.