53a) Western Gothic: Big Skies and Big Hearts-Roberta Barnes


53a) Western Gothic: Big Skies and Big Hearts-Roberta Barnes

Patron: Duane R. Tappe-In honor of my big hearted wife, Diana.   

 Nebraska has many diverse regions.  One of the larger areas of Nebraska, the Sandhills, encompasses the north and west central regions of the state.  I think of this region as one of Nebraska’s best kept secrets.  Most travelers speed along I-80 and never get a chance to experience the splendor of the sandhills.

The Sandhills region embraces a culture all its own.  It’s the beginning of the west where the cowboy way of life is common to all who live there.  Many ranches are managed and operated by a team;,, the husband and wife.  They work side-by-side through the good times and the bad times.

The front side of the heart parallels the concepts expressed in Grant Wood’s American Gothic.  The ranching couple is saddled up in front of the barn ready for the day’s work.  On the backside, the day is represented through an early morning scene of moving cattle to new pasturreland.  The base of the sculpture highlights the livestock brands from the Sandhills region.

I have two possible titles for the piece.  The first is Western Gothic which, as mentioned earlier, relates to Grant Wood’s American Gothic.  The second possible choice is Big Skies and Big Hearts, because it describes the expanse of the sky and the nature of the people that live their lives in the Sandhills region.