Bob Coronato used to open books and look at the”Old West” photos and see cowboys riding the open plains, and he would stop and think,”I wished I lived 100 years ago.” After going out to the very remote west, and finding ranches that are still”cowboy” in the old ways, he realized that the west he was searching for as a kid was still there. In tiny hidden corners of the country, you can still find places untouched by time. There are ranches that gather 2,000 to 3,000 head of cows on horseback, across 100’s of miles of fenceless landscape.
The time has come where land is becoming too valuable, and it is no longer affordable to have cows roaming free on open range. This forces ranches to sell off lands to survive, and before long, the”West” will be gone: old style ranch rodeos, traditional brandings, log cabins with no electricity, and running the chuck wagon during roundup. Coronato no longer has to wish to be a part of the old days, but has become part of the west he was searching for. We are at a clash of two time periods, where traditional cowboy’n ways are being overridden by the modern technologies. This has been the focus of his paintings as he tries to document moments in time that show the ways of a fading lifestyle that so many people have admired. The freedoms of the west and the wide-open spaces have become symbols of our great country.
As our lives become more regimented and the rules become more numerous, we long for those places of freedom. The subjects of Coronato’s work remind people that there still is a remote, free west. It gives a sense of relief, that we are not a completely modern country, just yet. The question he hears most often is,”do they still do that?” Well yes they do, but not for much longer. By living in a remote section of Wyoming and working with ranchers and cowboys, Coronato feels proud to have been lucky enough to be a part of this final chapter in the history of the American Frontier. For now,”The West” is alive, it’s just hiding in small corners of our country trying desperately to hang on, and not be forgotten.