Rural Violence & Baby Ask: Women, Horses, Mountains, Music & More

“A new year is upon us, marking a time for reflection and anticipation. 2016 was a turbulent year, underscoring the important role art plays in encouraging dialogue between people and reflection upon ourselves.” ~  Art Advisor and Producer Camille Obering 

A heads up: Viewer discretion advised. This clip contains images of a live butchering. I want to post this latest in Obering & Friends “Rural Violence”  film-documented performance piece for the reasons Obering gives, and I’ve reached out to Obering with questions. At post time, the Jackson Hole Art Blog hasn’t received a response.

So I’ll put it to you, readers. The filmmakers wish to address many themes, and here’s the list, directly quoted:

– Death and destruction leading to life and enlightenment.

– Creating awareness that the luxuries many thoughtlessly consume often have a backstory (sic) many reproach (food production, electricity, transportation, cheap anything).

– Humanity’s animalistic (sic) instincts such as dominance, submission, struggle, proliferation, and acknowledging the grey area that exists separating humans from beasts.

– Persecution of the innocent.

– Tension created between what one considers natural verses amoral.

– How sanitized and curated our lives are, and how short our attention spans have become.

– Finding beauty in and meditating on what could be considered brutal.

These are themes we examine constantly; we’re a very aware generation or two; in Jackson alone we have two very fine organic food markets. That’s privilege, and we have a multitude of options when it comes to buying our food. We know that even organic meat gets butchered. How animals live their lives before butchering is most important: are they treated humanely or confined to horrific conditions? What were the circumstances for this animal? How did this creature end up as the “Rural Violence” star? Is it the “innocent?”

Camille Obering on set.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I do question my choices and often think about what took place before I pluck the sanitized package of meat I’ve just bought from the rack. Every day tensions between the haves and have-nots become more visible.  We are a community packed with environmentalists, biologists, forestry experts, wildlife biologists, fishermen, ornithologists and  conservation activists. Many hunt to feed their families.

Yet, for the touring public coming to visit Jackson Hole, any reference to how indigenous cultures survived and hunted are pretty smoothed over. Places you might find full-faced references are the J.H. Historical Societythe Yellowstone and Grand Teton Visitor Centers, the Library, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and National Geographic, just to name a few.

So what is new about these messages? I don’t think the themes are surprising; what’s new is how they’ve been treated in this piece of film. Rather than replicating, how about presenting a true indigenous group carrying out a routine life ritual? Would that get the point across? It’s the conversation I’d have. It’s a question, and raising questions is a primary goal here.

There’s beauty, poetry and reverence in this clip. I’m grateful to receive and share it. Thanks to Planet Jackson Hole and Meg Daly for the link!  www.camilleobering.com

Maddy German

A Song Bird’s “Baby Ask” 

A second locally produced video, “Baby Ask,” is in its final week of fundraising on Kickstarter, looking for dollars to offset costs of a ready-to-roll music video starring local songstress Maddy German. The video premiers at Jackson’s Center for the Arts at 6:00 pm, January 27th. 

German and her Band

Inspired by emotional upheaval, personal growth and, as it turns out, upheaval within the film’s production group and the rupture of German’s relationship with a former beau, the flick has two goals: transferring to film the struggles we experience with our “other selves,” and help launch a larger musical career for German and her crew.

You can catch the “Baby Ask” trailer here:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/497811323/baby-ask-a-music-video-from-wyoming

Wherever We Go, Art is the Heart

I was going to tell you that if I could live on art, I would. Then I realized I already do. And so do we all, in some way or another. Art is, literally, all around us. The keyboard I’m typing on is someone’s imaginiative creation. The lamp on my desk, the paintings on my wall, my books, the clothes I wear (though in my case I have to fall short of calling what I wear “wearable art.” It’s more like “wearable earrings and sweatshirts.”).

Outstanding in her field: Kathy Wipfler.

Recipes are art, the chairs we sit on. Loving one another and sticking by the Golden Rule is an art. That particular rule is, for some reason so difficult to follow. Why is that? It’s so simple to do the right thing. One of the most obvious “right things” is to respond to friends and colleagues when they reach out. When we don’t respond, the thing we remember IS the non-response. That’s not what you want people to remember, professionally or otherwise.

Todd Kosharek at work. Todd’s passion, work ethic and kindness are the best of Jackson Hole’s art heart.

My wish for us this year is to always try to do the right thing. Think it out. Be honest, but balanced. Who are your mentors? Who do you hold up as a hero amongst us? When trying to decide how to act, what choices to make, how to respond, how to walk this earth, I implore you: Do the right thing.

Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters’ Quick Draw” at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center in Grand Teton National Park.

One “compassion researcher” I know of says this: “We are taught that there is a right and wrong way to behave, to act and to think. Stepping outside this construct is a big shift. Non-judgmental acceptance of what it means to embrace all suffering on the planet takes development.”

Plein Air Cowboy Bar!

I’m not religious, but I try to find the good path, make choices that align my soul and help me towards peace and contentment. So often that effort winds up involving huge, ongoing struggles. Breaking things down to day-to-day triumphs is a better choice. Much of the time our thoughts are of the future, one dream after another. I can be guilty of spending more time dreaming than doing, especially during these challenging winter months.

Today my goal is to break that pattern up a little and re-start this blog! I will begin my book in earnest this year. I will work and produce positively to the benefit of arts here as they are related to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s phenomenal beauty and the wealth of art in our galleries and superb new generation of artists.

Bronwyn Minton, for “View 22.” I purchased my first “Bronwyn” this year!

I will try to present all forms of Jackson’s visual arts to the best of my ability; none of us relates to EVERY SINGLE work of art, but we can appreciate every effort, love that it exists, discuss art and feel lucky our particular creative vortex is so powerful.

Borbay and Friend. Connecting with this guy was a highlight of the year! He’s really a softie.

And so this first post of 2017 contains some of my favorite images and moments from 2016’s Jackson Hole art offerings and events. Just a very few~~there were SO many! To see more images from the past year, visit my Art Blog Facebook Page .  If you enjoy those posts, please “Like” the page and tell your friends! 

Dean Cornwell (1892–1960)
Portrait,1929. The Jackson Hole Art Auction had some exquisite works.

As ever, my deepest gratitude to everyone who appreciates and reads The Jackson Hole Art Blog. I’m thankful and proud.

David Michael Slonim at Altamira Fine Art.

The Jackson Hole Art Blog’s new header image: Detail from David Michael Slonim’s “Bailando,” at Altamira Fine Art.  

 

Todd Kosharek’s Utopia

Todd Kosharek Utopian Vision - The Peach Blossom Spring Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

Todd Kosharek, Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring – Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

“As I get older, I see looking to the future, both as a society and as individuals, as an act of seeking the Utopians that exist in our romanticized memories of the past. Memory is both the greatest blessing and the greatest curse. The line between the difference is what I am so drawn to explore, to understand.”- Todd Kosharek

“Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring,” encapsulates artist Todd Kosharek’s view of the world. Utopia was an island said to be an intentional place of community, an ideal society. Kosharek’s painting “Peach Blossom” depicts what is thought to be the first sighting of Utopia.

The painting’s story concerns a fisherman who comes upon a society living in perfect harmony. The fisherman stays for one week, then departs to his former life. When he tries to return to Utopia, he perishes.

Todd Kosharek Neautrality Acrylic on Canvas 16 x 24 inches

Todd Kosharek, Neautrality, Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 24 inches

TODD KOSHAREK | UTOPIAN VISION: THE HISTORY PROJECT, opens at Altamira Fine Art on October 3rd, runs through October 15th, and hosts an artist’s reception at Altamira on October 6, 5-8:00 pm in Jackson, Wyoming. A dance, themed to the exhibit, will be performed by Kosharek’s wife, Kate Kosharek.

Now a father of two, Kosharek’s growth as an artist is evident. That happens with parenthood, but in Kosharek’s case it’s really not a surprise; he began his own life journey~~or at least his visible Jackson Hole life journey~~on a higher plane. His perceptions of people, the way we live, his committment to truth and clear, balanced vision seem far above average.

Saturated in art history, Kosharek’s contemporary paintings have developed a highly focused and meditative style. He’s as meticulous and balanced in his artwork as poets are when  constructing great poetry.

Todd Kosharek Love Letter - Peace Within Acrylic on Canvas 12 x 20 inches

Todd Kosharek, Love Letter – Peace Within, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 20 inches

“I went seeking poetic verses on peace through (sic) and acceptance of love. I looked at Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Cummings….Then I re-read letters from my wife. “Love Letter” is the first one I ever received, 13 years ago. She wrote about a great peace within [regarding our] whole situation, the admitting of vulnerability toward another person. I thought this was a perfect summary of love: having a sense of peace to the unknown,” writes Kosharek.

This exhibition focuses on Kosharek’s ongoing Crane Series, and a sample of his landscape painting occupies the top of this page. With this new exhibit, Kosharek merges interior and exterior worlds.

Sebastian Junger’s book, “Tribe,” concludes society has grossly inverted our own utopia; from our earliest days on this continent, reports Junger, our industrial society “waged an ongoing campaign against a native population that had barely changed, technologically, in 15,000 years.”

Continue reading

2016 Jackson Hole Art Auction Results!

Dean Cornwell (1892–1960) Portrait,1929 oil on canvas 30 x 24 in Sold: $245,700

Dean Cornwell (1892–1960) Portrait,1929 oil on canvas 30 x 24 in Sold: $245,700

I’d certainly buy her if I could. Dean Cornwell’s (1892 -1960) beautiful portrait of a young woman surrounded by American Indian motifs and symbols stole my heart. This painting sold for $245,700. Her story is just one of the hundreds of successful art stories to emerge from 2016’s Jackson Hole Art Auction, which realized over $8,000,000 in sales earlier this month. As always, the auction took place at Jackson Hole’s Center for the Arts, in downtown Jackson, Wyoming, and is a partnership production of the Trailside and Gerald Peters galleries.

This is a quick post; my aim is to get you the sales information as quickly as possible!

SALE HIGHLIGHTS: 

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Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Buffalo Hunting,1894
oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 24 in
Sold: $450,000

unnamed-3N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945)
He Rode Away, Following a Dim Trail Among the Sage, 1909
oil on canvas
38 x 25 in
Sold: $585,000

unnamed-4Maynard Dixon (1875–1946)
Cattle Drive, 1939
mixed media
49 x 36 1/2 in
Sold: $409,500

unnamed-5Walter Ufer (1876–1936)
October
oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in
Sold: $374,400

unnamed-6
John Clymer (1907–1989)
Moving Camp, 1972
oil on canvas
20 x 40 in
Sold: $380,250

unnamed-7John Clymer (1907–1989)
September, 1972
oil on board
15 x 30 in
Sold: $187,200

unnamed-8
Martin Grelle (1954–Present)
Last Trail to Medicine Wheel, 2016
oil and acrylic on linen
40 x 48 in
Sold: $198,900

unnamed-9

Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865–1926)
Brüllende Löwen
oil on canvas
44 3/4 x 83 1/2 in
Sold: $280,800

marris 6-23 right, 6/23/16, 11:02 AM, 8C, 7704x10681 (0+0), 138%, gustafson less, 1/8 s, R69.1, G56.4, B81.5

Bonnie Marris (1951–Present)
Family Ties, 2016
oil on canvas
36 x 48 in
Sold: $140,400

View all of the Jackson Hole Art Auction’s 2016 sales results at www.jacksonholeartauction.com! More local art news coming soon!

As Art and Seasons Turn

"The Connoisseur," by Norman Rockwell.

“The Connoisseur,” by Norman Rockwell. The work appears on American Art Review’s October cover.

Ahhh. It’s Fall. Lovely.

Soon I’ll be returning to Jackson, and for almost everyone this season is a time of reflection. It’s also a time of “buckling down to work” and transition.

When I’m not reading or writing about Jackson Hole’s art scene, I’m often reading about art in other corners of the world, and quite a bit about art across the country. This entry, I’d like to offer up a few stories that recently caught my eye.

The first concerns plein air painting, and a show about a collection of artists, now deceased, whose works were, in their time, considered excellent. But as their lives came to an end, so did their visibility as artists. The show is “Variations on a Theme: American Painters (1850-2000), opening next month at the Rockport Art Association and Museum in Rockport, Massachusetts.

“It is an unfortunate fact that unless an artist has a gallery or family to keep their name in the forefront of the art world, the bulk of their work can be lost in the mists of time,” writes Judith A. Curtis in the latest edition of “American Art Review.” 

Alexander Bower (1875-1952), Cottage on the River

Alexander Bower (1875-1952), Cottage on the River

This is not currently a big problem for Jackson artists~~(housing is another matter)~~a number of artists who didn’t have representation or were faced with a gallery scene refusing to show their work are now front and center. This is incredible, and perhaps because we, collectively, are the polar opposite of the small New England town’s plight, the article spoke to me.

The Rockport’s mission is to feature local painters who are not only considered excellent, but have been “the mainstay of the Association in its fledgling days.” To sum up Curtis’ point, the museum would never have survived without intense dedication, talent, and a consistent “forward momentum.” Until last year, when the Rockport mounted an all-women’s art show  and expanded its reach, the museum was unable to produce a show like “Variations.” In the article about the show (if you can find a hard copy~~I can’t find the article on line) you can read about a number of New England plein air painters who, despite their great talents and breadth of subjects, faded from view. It’s a touching look from a knowing and careful perspective.

Stanley George, proprietor, closing a gate decorated by Jessica Blowers at Stanley’s Pharmacy on Ludlow Street. Credit Santiago Mejia/The New York Times

Stanley George, proprietor, closing a gate decorated by Jessica Blowers at Stanley’s Pharmacy on Ludlow Street. Credit Santiago Mejia/The New York Times

Don’t hurt me, NYT! I loved this article. And I hope that we in Jackson Hole can figure out something like the Lower East Side’s “100 Gates Project.” 

Tamara Best wrote about a street art project that’s transforming a part of Manhattan’s dingy Lower East Side. Although we in Jackson don’t pull down metal doors when we close up for the day, we could paint some fabulous large-scale works and use them as promotion for our local artists. What about that idea for the Public Art Spot, the snaggly “banner” space that juts out over West Broadway? That needs upgrading, up-thinking. 

Or, we could place art on the streets themselves. And create/paint/build/light up huge arrows pointing to the Art Association! Once visitors arrive at the Art Association, they’d find so much affordable local art that they couldn’t help but bring some back home.

Our public art is fabulous, but I feel more thoughtful placement of work is possible. Let’s not crowd small spaces without offering a place to rest, without offering nature and true assimilation of place and object.

I’m in favor of making the Art Association more “public,” a retail operation that draws more tourism dollars. Tourists rarely, if ever, visit and we need a fresh audience. I’m in favor of another project I recently read about, and Jackson has already started: displaying local art, with prices, in every lodging location possible, AND add an artist studio space directly into the lodging structure itself. The artist is always in residence.

Read Best’s article HERE. 

sothebys7-28-16My mom gets newsletters from the Hollis Taggart Gallery in NYC. The gallery sends out an Art Market Report much like our Jackson Hole Real Estate Report. A summation of the latest report says that there has been a “rising tide” of gallery sales and an “ebb in momentum” for auction houses. People are consigning, not selling, in an erratic market. Feels safer, more control.

As the gallery went to press with their newsletter, the SEC reported a 65% reduction in Steve Cohen’s Sotheby’s stockAlmost immediately a Chinese insurer “China Guardian” bought up a 13.5% position in Sotheby’s. And now it’s Sotheby’s largest shareholder…….

“No doubt China Guardian was quietly buying Steve Cohen’s stock position!” exclaims the Report.

Invest in, support and love your local artists. We are a family. An Association.

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Because I do not wish to finish on a “corporate” note, I offer some these observations on the passing of time and transition:

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” ~Albert Einstein

“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.”~Thich Nhat Hanh