In recent years, thanks in large part to Sedona’s housing boom and increased demand for art, the experts at Rowe Fine Art Gallery have noticed art lovers getting creative when it comes to placing their treasures inside their home – or, in some instances, outside of it.
We’re talking about art in gardens, courtyards, driveways and landscapes. It’s Time to Think Outside the Home, Rowe Gallery’s June show, opens Friday, June 3, from 4 to 7 p.m., with an emphasis on bronze sculptures in the great outdoors. The show runs through the month.
Homeowners are surprised when they hear how many bronzes are purchased for outdoor placement, says wildlife sculptor and gallery owner Ken Rowe. With more people spending time entertaining outdoors, art collectors are adding commissioned and monumental pieces to their collections. One of Ken’s most recent monumental sculptures, Vantage Point, hasn’t been on display in the gallery for eight months because demand has been so steady. The sculpture depicts a reclining mountain lion.
“We’ve had quite a few clients purchase it for their entryways and driveways,” says Ken. “It’s a very peaceful, relaxing sculpture.”
Art collectors can see Rowe’s Express Male, a monumental sculpture featuring a racing pronghorn, and Out of the Blue, a life-size bronze bald eagle. Ken is also considering a life-size version of his popular Outstanding Mother 399 sculpture, which depicts Grizzly 399, a female bear who has gained a cult-like following for raising her cubs in high-traffic tourist areas in Wyoming.
Ken isn’t the only sculptor experiencing high demand for his artwork. Kim Kori’s Amore monumental piece featuring a lovestruck frog, a Rowe Gallery staple for years, has also been hard to come by. Attendees of the June show will have the opportunity to see Kim’s large, pre-cast, version of Rapid Transit, a piece she originally released in 2020. The bigger version of the sculpture, which depicts an enterprising frog hitching a ride on the back of a snail’s shell, measures 24 inches wide by 18 inches tall by 11 inches deep – perfect for a garden or courtyard.
Kim revealed the small version of Rapid Transit during one of the gallery’s popular livestream webcasts, and she mentioned she’d like to create it in a larger size. “I just love the design of a snail,” she says. “I think they are beautiful, and I love the way the patina turned out on the sculpture.” A collector watching the webcast quickly contacted Rowe Gallery to commission the larger version, and the rest is history.
Finally, two monumental pieces by impressionistic wildlife sculptor Joshua Tobey, Lazy Days and Edge of Discovery, also stand tall in the gallery. Joshua has been on a monumental streak for several years now. “I recently finished two life-size wolves,” he says, “and a life-size newborn foal that’s struggling to stand for the first time. It’s called First Step, and it’s an enlargement of an earlier sculpture.”
Joshua also completed a giant Galapagos tortoise titled My Upside Down World. (The small version of that sculpture is also available through the gallery.)
Ken says homeowners are surprised to hear that sculptures stand up to the elements – even Arizona’s brilliant sunshine.
“Here in Arizona and the Southwest, bronze sculptures of all sizes do really well outdoors,” says Ken. “When you purchase a sculpture from Rowe Fine Art Gallery, we’ll consult with you on the best location to place it, and if your goal is to display it outdoors, we will send you home with a care kit complete with wax, a brush, a bucket and a cloth. You only need to wax it once a year, so it’s almost maintenance-free. And though it might sound funny, a piece of wildlife art in a natural setting can make you feel even closer to nature, a connection that I believe is very important.”
Rowe Fine Art Gallery represents traditional and contemporary southwestern artists. The gallery, located under the bell tower in Patio de las Campanas at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 928-282-8877, visit rowegallery.com.