In the vernacular of the West, the term pure quill means "authentic; real, through and through." Barbara Van Cleve's gripping black-and-white photographs of the West she knows and loves give vision to that term. Born and raised on a working Montana cattle and horse ranch, for seven decades she has focused her lens on the land and sky, and the men, women, and animals who animate it. Through riveting compositions, subtle values, and captivating textures her photographs dispel the myths associated with the West while conveying its true adventure and compelling drama. In this first book featuring the breadth of her subject matter, readers experience her other themes, including Rodeo as Dance, striking night scenes, the Great Montana Centennial Cattle Drive series, and documentation of the Spanish Mission Trail in Baja California, Mexico. Honesty, consistency, and versatility are the hallmarks of Van Cleve's oeuvre, and pride of place is her brand.
Barbara Van Cleve has had over sixty one-person shows. Her work is in public and private collections in the United States as well as internationally.
Susan Hallsten McGarry became an advocate for quality representational art while serving as the editor in chief of Southwest Art Magazine from 1979 to 1997. She brings that profile into her work today as an author, a curator, and an editor.