Seeing the West: Arizona and New Mexican Women Adventurers

Dr. Tricia Loscher

In this program Dr. Tricia Loscher, Assistant Director of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, explores the incredibly rich and diverse world of the women artists and the narratives their artworks tell in our New Beginnings: An American Story of Romantics and Modernists in the West exhibition.

The selection of artwork presented in New Beginnings provides an opportunity to rediscover and reflect upon the often-overlooked contributions of western American artists. This includes women artists, as SMoW seeks to make the West’s many “invisible” artists visible alongside some of the most important national and international artists of the first half of the twentieth century.

Exploring the artwork created by women in New Beginnings, Dr. Tricia Loscher’s presentation examines the various reasons women artists came to the American Southwest and how their work was shaped by the region. Some initially arrived for health reasons, such as the therapeutic hot springs and sun-filled days. Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879-1962) was a Taos socialite, writer, and philanthropist, and a symbol of the New Woman, as she advocated self-healing with her emancipated ideas about art, society, sexuality, and politics. Luhan encouraged a number of women and artists to visit New Mexico, and among them was Dorothy Brett (1883-1977), who captures the vitality and healing qualities of the American West in one of her most accomplished works, Desert Indian (c. 1932-1937). The convergence of cultures is explored in Barbara Latham’s (1896-1989) Road to Taos (c. 1940) that exemplifies the artist’s unique artistic perspective as she depicts a tree-lined thoroughfare crowded with bustling people, wagons, horses, and children who scurry off in all directions. Latham’s well-traveled road that disappears into the blue horizon is enriching and exciting in itself.

Tricia Loscher is an Arizona native and has a background in both non-profits and academia. She serves as the Assistant Museum Director – Collections, Exhibitions, and Research at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW) where she has curated exhibitions ranging from the Taos Society of Artists (TSA) to the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA). Prior to SMoW, she was the curator and program director for the Heard Museum North, Scottsdale, where she curated exhibitions such Navajo folk art, and retrospectives on the artists Allan Houser and T.C. Cannon. Loscher has taught contemporary art and non-western art history courses at universities in the southwest and overseas, and has published articles on art and artists of the American West including “Kate T. Cory, Artist in Hopiland,” and a book entitled Old Traditions in New Pots: Silver Seed Pots from the Norman L. Sandfield Collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona and an M.A. from Arizona State University in art history and education, with minors in Latin American art, anthropology, and museum studies.

Program is included with museum admission; free for museum members.

Dorothy Brett, Desert Indian, c. 1932/1937, oil on canvas; Tia Collection, Santa Fe.