Autobody Gallery and Studios -BLOOD and THUNDER: Myth and History in the West


“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” 
- quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence 


March 3 - April 7, 2018

CHRIS RUMMELL  gold leaf

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 3rd from 7-10pm

 introduction by Chris Rummell:  
   Blood and thunder novels gained immense popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Full of lurid and exaggerated tales of an imagined American West populated by hostile natives, grizzled cowboys, and lawmen who sought to establish order in a wild frontier, their characters were based on real people, though the relationship to truth and reality was stretched thin. Westward expansion proved to be a far more complex story where centuries of history unfold and intersect in ways impossible to sufficiently reflect in a dime store novel. 

The West lies at the core of American identity, and many of our deepest beliefs about who and what we are can be found in those stories. Almost immediately, we began constructing a mythology that spoke to values of independence, moral virtue, and a steadfast pursuit of our destiny realized through the hard work and passion of individuals. Uncomfortable truths about our impact on the land, its original inhabitants, and our regard for one another would stand aside and make way for a less contradictory origin story. 

With this exhibit, we hope to reintroduce some ambiguity that resides here, in the West. Hero and villain were sometimes the same, progress and prosperity came at a cost. Who were those people who struggled, prospered, lived and died in the West? What was their relationship to one another, to the land, and their often competing visions of purpose? What does it mean to us today, as we live as beneficiaries in one of the wealthiest regions ever to exist?


Michael Tunk is a collage artist living in the West. His work explores impossible landscapes and realities, delicately assembled by hand from the printed page. Tunk’s work makes room for new interpretations of what already exists, selectively adding and subtracting material in a way that is both visually striking and thought provoking.

The Unknown Rider – Taking Names 

Chris Rummell is a mixed media artist, often combining elements of printmaking, collage, and traditional sign arts. His work tends toward revision and chance, seeking to understand how we attach meaning to symbols and representations. 
By contrasting mechanical precision with the human hand, layered works speak to the place where reality and ideals meet.

Apache 1886
enamel and goldleaf on glass

installation by Chris Rummell and Michael Tunk