By Wallace Wyss
Photos by Bill Michalak and courtesy of Hudson Rouge
The AFAS show at Pebble Beach, sponsored again by Lincoln Motor Car Company (who have sponsored the event for 22 years ) was a success in spite of the fact that only 14 active Society members exhibited their work this year. Once again, the Society invited a group of artists from Japan as well as a Guest Artist.
I toured the show during the Saturday evening preview and talked to as many artists as I could, asking about their latest work.
LARRY BRAUN , from the "wilds" of Colorado, had some human figures, cast in bronze, most exciting of which was a bust of Ettore Bugatti. He managed to capture the gravity of the man, and his finishes really add to the ambiance of his work. He works the old fashioned way... first making his work in clay and then casting in bronze.
JAMES DIETZ who has won awards for the historical accuracy of his work, came to Pebble with several new works but the one that was fascinating to me was a prewar car, a 1938 Rolls, with a futuristic background “futuristic” in a sort of pre-war Movie serial (he mentioned “Buster Crabbe”) way. So this work envisions and art deco streamline moderne background to go with the car.
KEN EBERTS celebrated a quartet of American built, “depression era” automobiles including a black ’41 Cadillac convertible sedan, a maroon ’41 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, a green ’35 Cadillac LaSalle and a ’38 Buick convertible sedan.
TOM FRITZ , long a stalwart of showing us early hot rodding in immediate postwar America featured some new motorcycle work. In at least two of his paintings he had wild points of view—and said that’s because to him, composition is king and he saw no reason why you can’t have a different POV than the usual one you would see standing in front of the car. Fritz received an Athena Award.
TOM HALE provided me with the best statement I got at the show: “Colors have never intimidated me in the slightest” and his work shows it. His new 36 by 48-inch acrylic on canvas painting features a sensuous white Lamborghini coupe with a blood red interior. His modern abstract piece uses geometric shapes to juxtapose their sharpness against the fluid lines of the wild Aventador. Hale received the 2017 Lincoln Award and an Athena Award.
DENNIS HOYT , who works in abstract sculpture, had the most flamboyant, and adventuresome piece in the show—a sort of wooden skeletal structure that was 82 inches long and priced at $85,000. It was difficult to see what kind of car it was alluding to but he had plenty of more conventional work that could be marque-identified at a glance. Hoyt received an Athena Award.
JOHN MARSH presented a number of historical works and was awarded a 2017Athena Award.
BILL MOTTA, once Road & Track’s lead art director for decades, showed again that he can weave people into his car paintings , their faces conveying the joy of seeing such a car.