The Wolfman Panel Southern Utah


Basketmaker II San Juan Anthropomorphic Style 100 B.C. to 750 A.D. San Juan County, Utah


When I look at The Wolfman Panel, named for the set of wolf tracks, I deeply admire the craftsmanship of the artist who created this panel.  Look at the graceful wings of the lower bird figure, the perfection of the human figure, the decorative treatment of the bird claws, wings, human toes, and hands.  The same artist created a second panel nearby. Like others who view numerous panels, I recognize the work of specific artists:  a Fremont serpent carver in Nine Mile Canyon whose sinuous snakes look as if they might crawl off the rock; an archaic painter in the San Rafael who paints miniature bighorn sheep and birds with such detail and beauty that his/her work could show in any museum today. When I was younger, I visited galleries and collected art books of my favorite artists.  Now I seek out the work of individual ancient artists in the canyons of Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. These master craftsmen did not seek personal expression, but within their cultural style they discovered their artistic voice.


The bullet holes in The Wolfman Panel are old, but the practice of shooting at rock art continues.  Everywhere we see carved deer, bighorn sheep, human figures, spirals and concentric circles used for target practice.  Shooting at anything and everything is peculiarly American.