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Ancient Painters of the Colorado Plateau


Blessed with natural wonders and inspirational landscapes, Utah attracts millions of visitors each year to its dozen National Parks and Monuments.

Less well-known but of equal world-class significance is Utah’s prehistoric rock art. This exhibition, Ancient Painters Of The Colorado Plateau, is a sample of Utah’s longest running style—the Barrier Canyon style.

Utah’s first artists, Western Archaic hunters and gatherers (ca. 6,750 BCE–CE 400), created many of the most striking rock art panels. And while we do not know their name for themselves, we call their painting style the Barrier Canyon style.

Utah’s collection of rock art styles rank among the best in the United States–in numbers, in time-depth, and in aesthetic quality. From a dozen apparent styles of Utah rock art, the Barrier Canyon style is generally recognized as the state’s premier prehistoric form. The Barrier Canyon style is also one of the two major Archaic painted tock art styles in the United States (perhaps in the entire New World).

Even when considered on a global scale, the Barrier Canyon style is a remarkable body of visual images. Like the European animal painters of the caves, many Barrier Canyon image-makers were true painters and a few were exceptional artists. The range of their painting technique and their grasp of the visual ideas or issues attendant to painting are truly impressive, regardless of place or time.

Craig Law, Project Photographer, is well known and highly respected photographer who teaches at Utah State University. David Sucec, Project Director, is a visual artist, independent curator, scholar, and teacher.


2016-2017 Traveling Schedule

Grand County Public Library, Moab, August 22 – September 28, 2016
Granger Elementary, West Valley City, January 9 – February 6, 2017