I’m often asked if the people and places I portray are from a bygone era. “This is the West today,” I say. “A place where neighbor helps neighbor, where the work doesn’t end when the sun goes down.” Since Lewis and Clark first ventured across the Mississippi, the West has been revered and romanticized in art and literature, song and cinema. The focus of my work is the West that endures—a blending of the West we live and the West of our imagination.
Maura begins each piece by looking directly into the sun. With details obscured, a strong, iconic silhouette serves as her starting point.
Bold forms are the centerpiece of her work, including high contrast images and scenes she chronicles while on location on ranches and rodeos throughout the West. Over the past decade, Maura has photographed elbow to elbow with Sam Abell (a 40-year National Geographic veteran), Jay Dusard, Michael Crouser (Mountain Ranches) and Norm Clasen (long-time lead photographer for Marlboro campaigns), and others. From Montana to Arizona, Colorado to Texas (and beyond) she captures life on working ranches, small town rodeos and all that’s in between.
Back in her Denver studio, the artist deconstructs her images into high contrast “cuts” of light and shadow. Her artist toolbox combines processes celebrated and honed by Warhol and Rauschenberg that she has altered to create large-scale originals featuring her own iconic imagery. She often combines her western scenes with historic patterns, textures and illustrations. Her intent is not Old West versus Modern West or real versus romanticized, but to showcase the West as an ever-evolving geography, life and state of mind.
Maura’s work is included in museum, corporate and private collections nationwide and has received numerous awards. 2018 marks her seventh year as a Cowgirl Up! artist and fourth year at Cheyenne Frontier Days. She is the proud recipient of the Cowgirl Up! Artists’ Choice Award (2013), Museum Purchase Award (2014), and as the designated poster artist for Cheyenne Frontier Days (2016). The artist is represented by top galleries nationwide.
Fifth in a family of eight, Maura grew up in Northern California. With her big family heritage, she’s drawn to ranch families and how traditions are passed from one generation to the next. She earned a BA in Classical Studies/Latin from Stanford University.
Museum Shows + Exhibitions
Cowgirl Up! Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ (2012 – 2018)
Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show. Old West Museum, Cody WY (2015 – 2018)
New Frontiers. Curtis Arts Center. Greenwood Village CO (2017)
All Creatures Great & Small. Tucson Desert Art Museum. (2017)
Windows on the West. Estes Park CO (2017)
Western Heroes of Pulp Fiction. Tucson Museum of Art (2015/16)
Corps of Discovery: On the Trail with Lewis & Clark (solo show). Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX (2014)
The New West. Denver Arts Commission, Denver, CO (2014)
A New Look at the West. Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX (2014)
Collecting the West. Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ (2011)
Awards + Accolades
Cowboys & Indians Magazine | Artist Feature (2017)
SouthwestArt Magazine | “Geography of Hope” (2017)
Denver Post. “New Frontiers” feature | January 2017
Cheyenne Frontier Days | 2016 Poster
SouthwestArt Magazine | “The Santa Fe Trail” (2015)
Western Art Collector Magazine | “Art from the Other Half of the West” (2015)
SouthwestArt Magazine | Cover + “Today’s West” feature profile (2014)
Museum Purchase Award | Desert Caballeros Western (2014)
Tin Star Award | Pearce Museum New Look at the West (2014)
SouthwestArt Magazine | “Celebrating Women” (2014)
SouthwestArt Magazine | “Cowgirl Up! Show Preview” (2014)
Artists’ Choice Award | Cowgirl Up! (2013)
SouthwestArt Magazine | “Meet the Artists” (2012)
Rene di Rosa Award of Merit
Hearts of San Francisco | Artist Grant
- Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ
- Hilton Hotels
- Inverness Hotel, Denver, CO
- Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX
- Ritz-Carlton Hotels
- Yellowstone Club
The Western Art Rodeo Association is proud to have Maura Allen as a Premium Member.