For artist Maura Allen, who was born and raised in northern California and who currently lives in Denver, the West is a place she’s always loved.
Allen will open her newest show, “The Only Road You Know,” on Oct. 6 at Sorrel Sky Gallery, the same weekend as the annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
The timing couldn’t be better for a woman who studied classical studies (Latin) at Stanford and who now uses that education to explore the culture of the American West.
“(Classical studies) were really looking at a culture and how all the things of that culture are related – song, arts, politics, religion, everyday life, and how all those things relate to tell a story of a place,” she said. “(I’ve) loved the stories of the West, and really took that construct of looking at the way the culture is, to then apply that to my art, to the culture of the West. That idea of how the West represents so much to so many – for an artist, it’s the story I wanted to tell.”
And to Allen, while the West is changing, its cultural importance is not waning.
“I was just in Wyoming last week for a photo shoot, and what I saw was the culture of the West is alive and well,” she said. “Events like rodeo and roping bring families and friends together, just as they did 10 years ago and a hundred years ago. And so keeping traditions alive ... is really important to be able to carry that story forward.”