Home Museum buys Straughn’s ‘Night Run’

WASHINGTON — A second “spirit” painting by renowned artist Lance Straughn has been purchased by the US Department of Interior Museum.

The museum bought “Night Run”, a painting mixing realism and expressionism. It depicts bison galloping across a prairie landscape after dark.

It accompanies another “spirit” painting titled “Bear Clan Guardian” purchased in August 2021 for the museum’s permanent collection of over 1,500 works of art.

“I am very honored to have two paintings on display at the museum,” Straughn said. “It was an honor to provide him with ‘Bear Clan Guardian’ last year and such a pleasant surprise to have the opportunity to contribute a second painting to the museum this year.”

“Spiritual” paintings are still an anomaly, even to Citizen Chickasaw Straughn, who also struggles to explain the concept and technique that produces them.

“The urge to paint ‘Night Run’ came to me one evening while driving. I like to escape the hustle and bustle of Oklahoma City and drive to more secluded and private areas. The wind was blowing quite strong, and there was a storm brewing,” Straughn said.

“‘Night Run’ popped into my head during that drive, and I went home and started applying paint to a canvas,” he said with a laugh.

For decades Straughn painted in a style of realism until he was inspired to produce “spiritual” art. He still exhibits both types of painting at festivals and on his website LStrughn.com.

A realistic painting, “Speak to the Grandfathers”, depicting a Chickasaw warrior participating in a centuries-old sacred activity, was sold to a private collector during the Artesian Arts Festival (AAF) in June. This painting won first place in the AAF Juried Division.

“We were very busy at the Artesian Arts Festival and sold out a lot of pieces. It showed me how the COVID-19 pandemic had pushed people away over the past couple of years. to see art, to talk with me and there is no better interaction than person to person,” he explained.

“Bear Clan Guardian” is on display at the US Department of Interior Museum located at 1849 C Street, NW in Washington, D.C.

Straughn is versatile. Primarily an oil painter and sculptor, since the June festival he has focused on woodcarving but has expressed a desire to return to the easel. “It’s probably been four or five months since I painted, and I have to get back to it,” he noted.

The wood carvings are not completely finished. One depicts a standing bear and the other a turtle. The bear is sculpted in linden and the tortoise in walnut.

“I was really excited about the Artesian Arts Festival, and it was such a pleasure to go out and see people again. It energized me,” he added.

“The artwork (is) on display in the Stewart Lee Udall Department of Interior building,” said Jason Jurgena, the museum’s registrar. “Straughn is the only contemporary Chickasaw artist whose work is represented in the Museum of the Interior’s collection,” he added.

Betty K. Park