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 James Asher  (1944 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Missouri      Known for: landscape and western genre painting, sculpture, lithography

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Ad Code: 4
James Asher
from Auction House Records.
Campo Santo at Truchas
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Asher, James
Born: 1944 Butler, Missouri / Currently living in Scottsdale, AZ

James Asher is a realistic, representational sculptor, painter, and printmaker of the present Indian cultures of Arizona and New Mexico.  He creates romanticized versions of "his" west.  In oil painting, he adds glazes to certain features because of the brilliance they add to the color and the look of true sunlight.

Asher grew up in farm country, and studied art from an early age.  He earned a science degree with a major in art from Central Missouri University, and also went to the Art Center School in Los Angeles.

Contemporary Western Artists by Harold and Peggy Samuels

Biography from American Design Ltd.:
A native of Butler, Missouri, James Asher received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Center School in Los Angeles.  He went on to work as the art director for a variety of large advertising firms in the Los Angeles area, and before moving to Arizona in 1972, was a principal in Cochrane Chase and Company.  There he received several Printing Industry of America awards for excellence given by the printing industry itself.  He is accomplished in both oil and watercolor techniques as well as sculpture and is recognized as a leader in stone lithography.

Since 1974, Asher has devoted his time to fine art in his Scottsdale studio.  Considering himself a southwestern "Regionalist", he travels throughout the Southwest photographing Indians and the magnificent landscape of Arizona for his inspiration.  He draws on his own intimate experiences among the so-called primitive peoples - Hopis in the cornfield such as Mexicans who wash their clothes in the Rio Cuale and the Zuni women of New Mexico who build bee-hive ovens for baking bread.

"I paint the 'Now West', rather than romanticizing the west of the past", says Asher. "We're living in a time period that will be history later on. I'm just trying to record it as I see it now."  He adds, "I could work here for the rest of my life and never run out of subjects to paint."

Asher works slowly, giving great attention to detail like the European masters of old, no matter what medium he uses.  He says, "I work with watercolor only after I've done all the conceptual sketching, arranging, and composing beforehand. Yet, I wouldn't have gotten to that point if I had not observed, firsthand, everything I could possibly observe about Zuni Indian oven makers, for instance.  After all that, the mere physical act of committing it to paper, canvas, or bronze becomes an exercise.  By then, I know exactly what I'm going to do.  Almost like rote, like memorization."

Asher's work can be seen in such places as the Valley National Bank, the Xerox Corporation, the Curtis Corporation, and the Southwest Forest Industries.  Since 1979, his work has been in many group and one-man exhibitions throughout the southwest. His work also appears in a book by Peggy & Harold Samuels entitled Contemporary Western Artists.

Asher currently lives and works in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area.

Biography from Southwest Graphics Collection:
James Asher is a regionalist artist with a mission. Working in a classical representational style, he depicts the history we are living through now as well as preserving the Indian culture and landscape of the Southwest. An unabashed regionalist, Asher has travelled extensively throughout the Southwest, photographing, sketching and painting as though he could work in the region for the rest of his life and not run out of subjects.

Born in Missouri in 1944, Asher received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Central Missouri University in 1966. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles where he was taught to paint by Joe Henninger. Since that time, Asher had a brief, successful tour in the advertising business in Los Angeles, and in 1974 came to Scottsdale Arizona to do what he had desired most--paint the Southwest.

He is a watercolorist, oil painter, and sculptor. Working in collaboration with the staff of Tamarind Master Printers at Southwest Graphics, Asher has become one of the most prolific practitioners of the original lithograph.

Mr. Asher's work can be found in many public and private collections including the office of the Governor of Arizona.

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