Stuckey, a native of Florida, now lives in West Virginia, where he and his wife both teach art at West Virginia University. Previously, they spent six years in Albuquerque, attending graduate school at the University of New Mexico, and in 2007, while he was still living out West, Stuckey started his series of large-scale figurative paintings, trying to make sense of the Western landscape he’d come to love, along with his romantic notions of it. The paintings are about “my own personal experience of being a tourist and an outsider glimpsing the reality of the West,” Stuckey says. “How we play up the romantic notion of the West and the landscape and the people made for a perfect avenue for me as a figure painter to add narrative to my work. It’s about the reality versus the romanticism.”
Stuckey initially constructs his paintings from diverse images derived from various sources, pieced together on the computer into an image that he photoshops, then copies at a blown-up scale onto the canvas, often making adjustments. In Red, White, and Blue El Camino, the model for the salesman was a combination of Stuckey’s legs and a picture of Sitting Bull; his wife posed for the middle figure, wearing stuff culled from her closet, while the bikinied woman was a found image.
Stuckey continues to work on the series in his basement studio in West Virginia. Besides the large narrative paintings, he has painted a series of male and female torsos as well as monumental images of meat, but for now, he’s still spellbound by Western themes, studying John Wayne and Sergio Leone films to better grasp the power of the widescreen.
Red, White, and Blue El Camino is currently on view at the Ann Street Gallery, 104 Ann Street, Newburgh, as part of the “Human Form: An Enduring Inspiration” group exhibition, through November 12. (845) 562-6940; www.annstreetgallery.org.
- "Red, White, and Blue El Camino."Tracy Stuckey, oil on canvas, 60" x 54" | 2010