Tough By Nature Exhibit Captures The Spirit of Western Women

Artist Lynda Lanker to speak at special members’ opening reception on October 9

Eugene Artist Lynda Lanker traveled throughout the West for 19 years pursuing a passion: capturing the invincible spirit of ranch women and cowgirls through sketches, photographs, paintings and interviews. Her exhibition of that work, “Tough by Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West,” opens at the High Desert Museum on Saturday October 10, 2015.

“The High Desert Museum is thrilled to bring such a high-quality art exhibition to the Bend community,” said Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Faith Powell. ”Lanker’s portraits expose a side of the Wild West that is rarely seen through her honest representations of the women working in the field.”

Featured in the exhibition are charcoal and graphite drawings, stone and plate lithographs, acrylics, oil pastels and egg tempera. As the American West transforms from ranching and agriculture roots, Lanker’s images document a vanishing way of life that affirmed the role of these iconic contemporary women in the economy and ecology of the West. “Her lifelike paintings make you feel as if you’ve just met some of the talented women that she depicts. It’s a beautiful and inspiring show filled with vivid stories of ranchers and cowgirls that is not to be missed!” said Powell.

A special members’ opening and program will be held at the museum on Friday, October 9, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Following the reception, a panel discussion with Artist Lynda Lanker and one of her subjects, Rancher Shirley Rugg from Heppner, Oregon will be moderated by Art Historian Peg Brand. Cost for members is free and $5 for guests. Light refreshments and a no-host bar will be available. RSVP to or by calling 541-382-4754 ext. 241.

A hard-cover, fully illustrated book of the exhibition including contributions by Larry McMurtry, Sandra Day O’Conner and Maya Angelou will be available for sale. This exhibition was organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR and exhibition tour management is by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA. The exhibition will remain on view at the High Desert Museum through January 10, 2016.

For information on this and other museum exhibits, visit

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