Category Archives: Books

A Wolf Walked Into a Bar: Photographer David Yarrow at WRJ

David Yarrow, The Wolf of Main Street  Hahnemühle photo rag Baryta paper

“I have worked a great deal in two ghost towns in Montana. The result has been conceptual staged shots which have proved hugely popular in America. I wanted to capture the visual feast represented by the old Wild West. The images require a double take in terms of the proximity of man and animal. I love to tell stories that ask questions with no consensual answer.” ~ David Yarrow

There are wolves in Yellowstone. There are wolves in Grand Teton National Park, on the National Elk Refuge, and in Rafter J!

And now there’s a wolf walking down a bar, looking for you.

David Yarrow, Hello 56 x 91″  Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta Paper

Wildly popular European photographer David Yarrow has a new exhibition opening at WRJ Design in Jackson, Wyoming. Dramatic and startling, Yarrow’s “The Most Amazing View” will be on view, open to the public, at WRJ’s King Street showroom February 20 – March 4, 2017. Visions West, Jackson’s newest art venue, partnered with WRJ to bring Yarrow’s internationally raved-about photography to our region.

My premonition: Visitors, prepare for goosebumps. You will walk into surprisingly wild and engulfing new territory. Around every corner, in front of you and behind you, animals of the world feel within reach.

Yarrow believes what his muse, the war photographer Robert Capa felt: If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

This exhibit goes hand-in-hand with WRJ’s acclaimed history of mounting some of the world’s most stunning exhibits; the count includes more than 40 just for Sotheby’s New York. WRJ plans on transforming their showroom, pairing Yarrow’s photographs with carefully selected furniture, fabrics and lighting to showcase Yarrow’s work. Plan on learning a thing or two about the juxtaposition of good interior design and large-scale artwork.

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Take Your Broken Heart and Make it Art

 

Sue Sommers’ “001-1111-16,” Watercolor pencil and crayon on Magnani Pescia paper, 11 x 11″. From Sommers’ “Sibling” series.

In this week’s Jackson Hole News & Guide, editors ran a short letter about “clowns” demonstrating on Jackson’s Town Square the afternoon of January 15th. The letter could be taken as a thinly veiled threat: get those “clowns” off the streets of Jackson, or we’ll take our business elsewhere. Presenting all points of view is important, but placing that particular letter ahead of all others is astounding.

It’s a new town, a new year. Luckily, we can take our broken hearts and still make art!

Wyoming’s Pipeline Art Project artist Sue Sommers recently wrote a great piece for Wyofile, and she’s also come out with lots of new art and a new website. Her art explores different subjects, all close to home. Two of my favorites are her “Sibling” and “Willows” series. Though Sommers doesn’t specifically say so, these works draw from the same well, a source of roots and connection.

Sue Sommers, “Willow 2.” Intaglio on Rives Cream, plate size 9 x 12″, edition of 6.

Think of a tree’s branches as fingers, reaching to the sky, beckoning sun, rain and wildlife to its limbs. Think of families — most of Sommers’ abstract “Siblings” resemble fingers — as hands connected by fingers.

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“I call them (the Sibling Series) because they look like related organisms moving around in a confined space – like a family,” writes Sommers. “Thinking about my own siblings while I draw liberates me. I know (but didn’t when I was growing up) that I have to let the shapes be what they want.”

Sue Sommers. A landscape, “Fenceline 0615″ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 48 x 48 x 1.5”

Sommers writes about process rather than “content” or “meaning.”

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“This would be embarrassing if I didn’t know lots of other artists fighting messy tides of dread and self-doubt. Do I have anything interesting to say? Am I any good? Is there any point to the sacrifices I make? After nearly 40 years of valiant battle, I felt like the terror was winning. My way out was to make marks. Any marks.”

Sue Sommers. Stripes sketchbook green yellow. Watercolor and crayon in handmade sketchbook, 4 x 6 inches open. NFS

Sommers started with square pieces of scrap paper and a children’s watercolor set. Working slowly, she pressed her nose almost to the paper, her brush dragging incrementally across the paper’s tooth as pigment soaked in and spread.

“Every inch of every strip of color I laid down was my choice: I choose to make this now. And this. And this. I made dozens of these stripe pieces. Eventually they started changing, and I started changing.”

You can view Sommers’ new work and new website here

Duke Beardsley, Hangtown. Mixed Media on Collage 40 x 52.”  At Altamira Fine Art, Scottsdale.

Altamira Fine Art’s Scottsdale gallery welcomes a new solo show, “Range Monitor,” by contemporary Western artist Duke Beardsley. 

“A highly anticipated new body of work will be highlighted in this new show, which centers on the idea of transparencies and visual plays on overlapping realities and falsehoods,” writes the gallery.

Artist Reception & Opening: January 26, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, in Scottsdale. 

This appears to be an excellent show. Find out more about it by visiting Altamira’s exhibition description here.

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.”

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Painting For Life: New Book Celebrates Gregory I. McHuron

"Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron," by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“If you are attaining your goals, you’ve set your goals too low. The last painting you do should be the very best.” –Greg McHuron

Words to live by. Words to paint by.

Gregory I. McHuron (1945-2012) is considered by many admirers the sole plein air painter that could stand up to the Tetons’ majestic size and power, as well as their surrounding valley. Indeed, McHuron stood for the majesty of ALL wilderness and wildlife, and he left a permanent legacy when we lost him to cancer.

Four years after his death a seminal book worthy of McHuron’s life, artistry and passion for wilderness has come to fruition: “Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” lovingly authored by former Southwest Art Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Hallsten McGarry,  will soon to be available through the Grand Teton Association.

McGarry says that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the “WOW” that serenades your soul.”

“Painting has never been a job to me,” McHuron said. “It’s why I live.”

Greg McHuron near Menor's Ferry, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final "Artists in the Environment" demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

Greg McHuron near the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final “Artists in the Environment” demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

“In the summer of 2013, Linda McHuron, Peter Ward, and I got together to discuss the idea of a book,” says McHuron’s long-time friend and fellow plein air painter Stephen C. Datz. McHuron was a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, a group painting annually in Grand Teton National Park in support of the Grand Teton Association. Datz served as the group’s president for four years.

“We made contact with as many family, friends, colleagues, and collectors as we could and began collecting stories and remembrances. Peter began the work of gathering, collating, and cataloguing images of Greg’s work,” said Datz.

McGarry feels that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the WOW” that serenades your soul.”

Gregory I. McHuron, "Seasonal Differences," Oil, 40" x 30"

Gregory I. McHuron, “Seasonal Differences,” Oil, 40″ x 30″ Photo by Tammy Christel

For the next two years, through emails, phone calls, one-on-one meetings and gatherings hosted by Peter, we accumulated a huge stash of memories of Greg and advice that he had given his students,” recalls Datz. Matt Montagne and Charlie Craighead contributed an invaluable cache of candid photos of Greg out painting and doing AIE (Artists in the Environment, an open-to-the-public plein air painting program McHuron co-founded in 1974 with Connie Schwiering and Chuck McCurdy) demos.”

McGarry notes that “true artists must live their art and paint from the heart.” McHuron’s lifestyle epitomized that philosophy, she says. His paintings expressed what he felt, and he shared those feelings with others willing to listen, including mentoring artists, in workshops or in his own “no bull*@#!” critiques.

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Wild & Precious Life: Post #541

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, give my heart to all of you. That’s one thing, and after a while I’ll be doing it again. In less than a month I depart Jackson Hole for an extended stay in my New England home. I’ve been reading your emails and resisting my own default button: write a blog post! Surrounded by brown boxes, packing tape, piles and piles of stuff I didn’t know I had, and an ever-shifting list of moving chores, I’ve had to curtail writing about art. 

"Passage #39" - Dan Namhinga. Acrylic on canvas, 84 x72"

I miss it so. I will miss you deeply. You artists, you galleries, you museums and auctions, you wild and crazy fun events, salons, exhibits, Fall Arts Festivals~~~and most of all, the blissful, heavenly days spent out in Grand Teton National Park watching painters capture this beauty~~~feeling so proud to be present. To get to tell the world about your adventures, even as I’m on my own adventure. There’s so much more to learn. This website, together with soaking in the West’s stupendous art histories, has changed my life.

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Thank you for your trust and respect. Thank you for allowing me to share with the world (and the world does see!) the power of Jackson Hole art. Once I’ve settled some, I’ll be back to thinking and writing about you.

I’m proud of the Jackson Hole Art Blogsix years old, plus. This is post #541.

971071_575727195817073_81363745_nI know the Blog’s mission is appreciated. It’s the first blog of its kind in Jackson. Most importantly, I love you all and am blessed by your friendship, your support and the countless projects we’ve shared. We started something! I’m grateful for my experiences and affiliations with the Grand Teton Association and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Artists in the Environment, Greg McHuron, Bert Raynes, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Altamira Fine Art, the Brookover Gallery, Trio Fine Art, Homestead Magazine, our newspapers, Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Hole Art Auction, Wyoming ArtsWyoming Public Media and all Blog sponsors. Each and every artist!

With any luck I’ll pull my head out of the basement and see you in the coming weeks. If we miss one another, you know where to reach me, and I know where to reach you.

Look outside your immediate selves and your generation; rescue whenever possible and appropriate. Volunteer in places and for causes that aren’t “sexy.” Stay honest.

Keep sending your news. Though I can’t write about them for a while, I always want to hear what you’re doing with your wild and precious lives.

Namasté!   ~~~~ Tammy

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