Ken Egan Jr. teaches literature and writing at Drury University. He has written Hope and Dread in Montana Literature (2003).
Daniel Griesbach focuses his primary research on artists who have depicted migrant farmworkers in the United States, including photographer Dorothea Lange and novelists John Steinbeck, Raymond Barrio, and Helena María Viramontes. He has written essays on Steinbeck and an article for MELUS on US Hispanic folklore during the Great Depression. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington.
Robert Thacker is a professor of Canadian Studies and an associate dean at St. Lawrence University. A past president of the Western Literature Association, he has served as Executive Secretary/Treasurer since 1999. Recent publications include Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives (2005) and, coedited with C. L. Higham, One West, Two Myths II: Essays on Comparison (2007).
Elisa Warford teaches at Pepperdine University. Her research focuses on the ways fictional texts work rhetorically to create and manipulate identity, particularly in the works of western writers and those writing about politically marginalized groups, such as Sarah Winnemucca, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton.
Geoffrey James (b. 1942), a Welsh-born, Canadian-based photographer, is best known for his black-and-white panoramic views as diverse as the asbestos mines in Quebec, the cultivated parks of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and the formal gardens of Europe. James's work defies the traditional category of journalistic photography through compelling images that investigate the intersection between nature and the built environment. His photographic books include Running Fence, Paris, with Hubert Damisch, and Place, with Rudy Wiebe. His work is currently on display as part of the exhibit "Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West" at MOMA in New York.
James Luna (b. 1950) is a Luiseño Indian who resides on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in North County San Diego, California. Luna's exhibit and performance resumé spans thirty years. He employs a variety of media in his artwork, including audio and video. His installations have been described as transforming gallery spaces into battlefields, where the audience is confronted with the nature of cultural identity, the tensions [End Page 102] generated by cultural isolation, and the dangers of cultural misinterpretations, all from a Native perspective. Luna's performances often deal with difficult issues affecting Indian communities, such as socioeconomic problems, substance abuse, and cultural conflict.
Mary Nimmo Moran (1842–1889) learned etching from her husband, well-known western landscape painter Thomas Moran. She occasionally traveled with him to the West when household responsibilities gave her the chance to leave. When her paintings and the work of her husband were exhibited side by side, her paintings were usually the focus of much praise. Many of her most famous paintings were of their Long Island home. She died of typhoid fever after nursing their daughter through the disease.
Kenton Nelson (b. 1954), born, raised, and educated in Los Angeles, California, has been on the faculty of the Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Academy of Art in San Francisco. His work has graced four New Yorker magazine covers and has appeared in numerous major motion pictures. He traces his interest in painting back to his great-uncle Roberto Montenegro, renowned Mexican muralist and Modernist. Nelson says of his own mural-style paintings, "I try to paint in a straightforward yet compelling style ... the colors rich, the figures bold, and recognizable. I depict historic or contemporary scenes, with heroic imagery of strong, capable and confident people, in a timeless decorative style."
Edward Vischer (1809–1878), a German emigrant who moved to Mexico at nineteen, fell in love with California after traveling there in 1842 as an officer on a merchant ship. Jobs as a marine forwarding agent, real estate agent, and mortgage banker followed his move to San Francisco. Best known for his California landscapes, Vischer took up sketching and painting at age fifty, often making rapid sketches on the spot, to which he later added watercolor, pencil, pen, or crayon. One of the first artists to use lithography to reproduce his work, he later hired a professional photographer to produce albumen prints of his artwork, which were bound and sold by subscription.
James Walker (1818–1889) began painting detailed and dramatic scenes of vaqueros and ranching life in early California in the 1870s, after working as a staff artist for the Union Army during the Civil War. During the US–Mexican War, he served as an interpreter, and his battlefield sketches led to a series of governmental commissions for murals and panoramas, including his most famous work, 1862's Battle of Chapultepec. Displayed in the west staircase of the US Senate, the painting was loaned to the Marine Corps Legacy Museum in 1982. [End Page 103]