Sheldon Statewide: Audrey Towater
Learn more about a work from the 2022-2023 Sheldon Statewide exhibition, “On The Road Again.” This painting is titled "Windmill on Western Nebraska Ranchland" and was painted by Audrey Towater in 1984. Sheldon Statewide is an annual program through which artworks from the museum’s collection travel to venues throughout Nebraska. Since its inception in 1987, the program has taken exhibitions to 25 communities, reaching more than 365,000 people. “On The Road Again” will be presented in Chadron, North Platte, McCook, Grand Island, York, Beatrice, Fremont, and Falls City.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:00.424](bright upbeat music)
[00:00:08.850]Audrey Towater was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska in 1924
[00:00:13.440]and lived there until her marriage in 1943.
[00:00:17.220]She and her husband later returned to Scottsbluff
[00:00:19.440]to farm her parents' land.
[00:00:21.270]Land that probably looked a lot like
[00:00:23.040]that scene in her painting
[00:00:24.637]"Windmill on Western Nebraska Ranchland."
[00:00:27.840]Containing many of the area's typical geographic markers,
[00:00:31.320]this painting represents the place
[00:00:32.880]in which Towater spent the majority of her life.
[00:00:36.060]Rolling hills, sandy cliff faces,
[00:00:38.370]and scrubby green grass under a bright blue sky
[00:00:41.460]characterize this unique part of the country.
[00:00:44.430]Towater drew inspiration from the people and places
[00:00:47.100]in her immediate vicinity.
[00:00:49.830]Towater did not start making art until later in life
[00:00:52.440]when she was already a grandmother.
[00:00:54.480]She began by painting family gatherings,
[00:00:56.760]drawn to the spirit of such events.
[00:00:59.340]And her reputation began locally in Scottsbluff,
[00:01:01.980]but soon she was invited to paint events
[00:01:03.930]across the state and country
[00:01:06.090]bringing with her her characteristic paint-covered easel.
[00:01:10.200]She spent time in Lincoln
[00:01:11.490]painting the Sheldon Museum of Arts' Great Hall,
[00:01:13.830]as well as the rotunda of the State Capitol building.
[00:01:18.360]she also depicted the 1984 Orange Bowl football game
[00:01:22.440]between the University of Nebraska
[00:01:24.240]and the University of Miami.
[00:01:26.940]Towater also spent time in Washington, DC
[00:01:29.550]painting congressional hearings.
[00:01:31.530]And she received further national recognition
[00:01:33.870]when former president, Ronald Reagan,
[00:01:35.970]acquired one such painting.
[00:01:38.220]She was also the artist selected to represent Nebraska
[00:01:41.340]on a White House Christmas tree
[00:01:42.990]that was decorated with artist-created ornaments.
[00:01:46.320]Hers featured the Scottsbluff national monument,
[00:01:48.960]which she painted outside
[00:01:50.220]in front of the landmarks themselves.
[00:01:53.040]She even traveled internationally,
[00:01:54.750]flying to Germany with her grandson
[00:01:56.490]to witness and memorialize
[00:01:58.050]the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, 1989.
[00:02:02.285]Towater returned with over 20 paintings
[00:02:04.710]of that historical event.
[00:02:07.530]We might consider Audrey Towater to be a self-taught artist.
[00:02:10.950]Meaning that she had no formal training
[00:02:13.110]and was initially unconnected to the conventional art world.
[00:02:16.710]Like many self-taught or folk artists,
[00:02:19.140]such as Grandma Moses and Bill Traylor,
[00:02:21.810]her career did not gain prominence until later in her life.
[00:02:25.860]Regardless, Towater's paintings
[00:02:27.720]present a unique and regional point of view.
[00:02:30.637]"Windmill on Western Nebraska Ranchland"
[00:02:32.970]depicts a vista many might see
[00:02:34.740]while traveling through the panhandle of the state.
[00:02:37.530]Does it look familiar to you?
[00:02:39.360]What views would you describe
[00:02:40.890]as representative of the area where you live?
Log in to post comments