Articles

Swells

By Catherine Bigelow

Yeager-meister: A powwow gathered for artist Ira Yeager at his famed Shotwell Street gallery, where the exhibition “Indian Paintings: 40 Years” celebrated Yeager’s American Indian series. The solemn, dignified visages practically popped off the walls of the long-beloved studio (site of numerous memorable dinner parties), bursting with drama, vibrant color and intricately rendered adornment. Longtime friends and fans (both of city and valley vintage) stopped by to congratulate Ira, including Austin Hills, the sparkling Jamie Schramsberg, Zinfandel king K.R. Rombauer, Diane and Matthew Kelly, Deborah McMicking, printmaker Peter Koch and Susan Filter, Stephanie and Bill McColl, Winnie Noble, Merces Freeman, and Clarke and Elizabeth Swanson and two of their daughters, Alexis and Claiborne. And of course, members of Ira’s loyal posse: George Hellyer and Gail Glasser and her husband, Dr. Harvey Glasser. “This series is very special,” said Adria Bini, there with her son and daughter-in-law Nic and Kimberly Bini. “Each painting is so powerful, they take on a life of their own.” Yeager grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where his sportsman father led hunting trips, sometimes accompanied by Indians. The series coalesced when Yeager moved to New Mexico in the ‘60s, set up a studio and found himself drawn to the native culture there. “The series has continued and continues to evolve because it comes from inside me – the pain, the strength,” said Yeager, between hugs. “These come from my own hopes and dreams – a glimpse, of sorts, inside the true self.” Many at the show already possessed at least one Yeager “Indian,” including Mark Cooley and his wife, Joan. “We love ours. We often just stop in front of the painting and stare,” said Joan. “Tonight Mark’s thinking maybe it’s time to bring home a friend for it.”