Category Archives: Contemporary Art

Borbay Merges Abstraction with Aristotle

Borbay. "Go Out and Get It For Yourself," ~ Portrait of Don Draper. Collage

Borbay. “Go Out and Get It For Yourself,” ~ Portrait of Don Draper. Collage.

It boils down to what makes an artist tick. Recently I shared an image of Borbay’s portrait of the actor Jon Hamm as Don Draper with a friend. Fascinated by the artist’s collage technique, she wondered why Borbay chose that creative path.

Aristotle said it best,” Borbay answered. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

For Borbay, known outside the art world as Jason Borbet, collage elements embedded within a portrait are a reflection of the subject, their era, issues and, “of course, autobiographical elements of yours truly.” Each piece is a multi-tiered time capsule.

Borbay’s Jackson Hole opening show reception takes place at the Art Association on Thursday, July 7th, 6-8:00pm. Entitled “Painting Light,” the show remains up through July 30th, 2016. The show includes examples of Borbay’s collage works, acrylic and “neon” canvases. To preview the full show, click here

"Painting Light's" signature work: Borbay's "Neon Cowboy.

“Painting Light’s” signature work: Borbay’s “Neon Cowboy. Acrylic, 24×24”

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The Red Road: Valkyries and Medicine Men at Altamira Fine Art

R. Tom Gilleon, Valkyrie. Oil, 32 x 24 inches

R. Tom Gilleon, Valkyrie. Oil, 32 x 24″. At Altamira Fine Art.

Valkyries. Often portrayed as beneficent creatures, their role as the God Odin’s daughters (or female assistants) in Norse mythology is deciding which warriors die and which survive great battles. Those who perish are flown to Odin’s Valhalla by the valkyries, so that he may watch over them.

“Whether in their loving or bloodthirsty modalities, the valkyries are best understood as part of the extensive and dynamic complex of shamanism that permeates pre-Christian Germanic religion,” notes the web page Norse Mythology for Smart People.

R. Tom Gilleon’s “Valkyrie” elicits a tumbling mass of confliciting emotion. Is this a wise and beneficent angel of Odin or a bloodthirsty footman? Is she grounded or hovering? Is she watching over a particualar soldier or pensive? And how does this mythological Norse shaman legend translate to Native American symbols and culture?

How many battles were waged as white men overtook Indian lands, livelihood and very soul? Too many to count. Gilleon uses an ancient character to make a statement about today’s world crises, too many to count. But I choose to believe Gilleon’s valkyrie is a compassionate, helping spirit, ready to protect. Ready to carry our souls to safety.

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Shadows: Castle & Hicks at Tayloe Piggott; Daly News

James Castle, CAS11-0171 Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

James Castle, Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

In the new double show at Jackson’s Tayloe Piggott Gallery, there’s a complementary and slightly chilling collection of works by James Castle and Nicola Hicks. Castle was a profoundly deaf, self-taught artist. His mother was a midwife and his father ran the Garden Valley, Idaho post office.

James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo) n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

James Castle, Untitled (flamingo)
n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

Always poor, often on subsistence, Castle came to know a little sign language and developed a love for lettering. He “…is known for the skill of his draftsmanship,…subject matter and for his use of found and homemade materials. His recurrent and diverse themes tell an intimate story of a life lived in rural Idaho during the 20th century.”

Looking at Castle’s work I experience guilt as if I’ve broken into a child’s secret diary. It’s slightly agonizing, albeit fascinating, to study a Castle work; they’re heartrending. Eternally enigmatic, but with glimpses of a compromised soul’s joy in creating art. Displaying a man-child’s heart, Castle’s works seem stuffed in tiny boxes. Imagine, too, the drawings of an unborn child tucked in a dark, warm space, sensing fuzzy edges of the outside world.

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Nicola Hicks’ electric, recumbent bear prompted an email to friends much more familiar with bears’ private behavior. “Would a bear lie in this position on its own accord,” I asked. “Or would it only roll over on its back, belly exposed, if it was coerced by humans?”

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Bears do lie around tummy up. “They’re like dogs,” one of my experts explained. “They can be spotted rolling around in dense forest glens or by a body of water, cooling off.”

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

All this goes along with what seems to be Hicks’ core artist statement: Creatures of the earth are “…animalistic in form and body, yet uncannily human.” She’s on the anthropomorphism train.

Hicks’ show includes plaster casts (ultimately brass sculptures) of animals—seemingly locked in suffocating, snare-like dried mud pierced by sharp objects—and works on paper. It’s tempting to grab a sledgehammer and free these entombed creatures. Something new, an exercise in “different.” Hicks’ chalk, charcoal and monoprints depict wild and domestic animals, extended and sinewy. A portrait of a big sleeping dog has real heft. You feel the weight of the animal’s massive head.

The bear wins!

The exhibition remains on display through August 16th, 2015. www.tayloepiggottgallery.com

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Katy Ann Fox, "On the Way to Breakfast." 12x12" Oil on Panel

Katy Ann Fox, “On the Way to Breakfast.” 12×12″ Oil on Panel

Together or Separate: New Works by Eleanor Anderson and Katy Ann Fox, opens at the Daly Gallery-Daly Project on Thursday, July 9, with a reception from 5-7:00pm. Anderson’s bright, whimsical ceramics and Fox’s airy, well-composed canvases are on view through July 24th.

We strive to be open Tuesday through Saturday, 1o AM to 6 PM. Or by appointment, 307-699-7933,” notes the gallery. http://www.dalyartistrep.com

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And don’t forget: Catch up with more Jackson Hole art scene goings-on by logging on to https://funthingstodoinjacksonhole.wordpress.com. This week: “Plein Air for the Park!”  

Erin C. O'Connor. On Evening's Edge. Oil on Linen.

Erin C. O’Connor. On Evening’s Edge. Oil on Linen.

Testimonies: Teton Photography Group; Jeremy Morgan & CSA

Photograph by Nelson

Photograph by Loren Nelson

“Basic Digital Photography: How to Make Better Photographs With Your Digital Camera” is the second public educational symposium being offered by the Teton Photography Group, a group that’s come to include roughly 220 members, a phenomenal membership for an arts group less than a year old or for ANY non-profit group in a town our size! Photography, plentiful as sagebrush and as venerable as plein air, will become an official part of summer arts programs for the first time during the 2014 season.

Photograph by Linsdau

Photograph by Aaron Linsdau

“Education, sharing and networking” are the methods Teton Photography uses to advance the art. The event takes place Saturday, March 22, 2014 in the Black Box Theater at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming. A half-day in length, the session runs 8:30 am  – 1:30 pm.

Photographers (check links for more about each artist) Loren NelsonAaron Linsdau, Michael Cohen and Mike Cavaroc will speak on such topics as basic photography gear, improving focus and sharpness, obtaining the best exposure and composition techniques that work. Beginners and intermediates should enjoy this session, which is open to the public, interactive and hands-on.

I don’t have written testimonies handy, but I could count on four hands the number of times Teton Photography members have described their own positive experiences gained from the group. $25 donation for advance reservations and $30 at the door. Call 307.733.6379 to register. www.tetonphotographygroup.org

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We mentioned this event a few weeks ago in a previous post on Alison Brush’s new arts ventures, but as it’s upon us, I’ll remind you all again that on Thursday, March 20th, 5-7 pm, noted San Francisco artist and visiting teacher Jeremy Morgan will give a talk at the Art Association.

Morgan has “created a following of dedicated artists that enjoy absorbing his knowledge and energy,” says the A.A. This public presentation offers an in-depth, personal account of Morganʼs personal artistic development, his influences and experiences.

Several of Morgan’s disciples say that one reason they love studying with him is that Morgan does not teach by insisting students emulate his own style. He encourages every artistic direction, warmly leading students towards their personal bests. For info: 307-733-6379. www.artassociation.org

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Testimony: Many’s the day I go out in the world and hear how excited folks are about Alissa Davies’ Community Supported Arts project!  That’s revealing, redeeming and couldn’t happen to a better, more balanced and sincere arts contributor. Congratulations, Alissa!  Contact Davies by phoning 307.690.4757 or by emailing csajacksonhole@gmail.com.

 

Brush Art Ventures Forth; Jeremy Morgan, LOVE & Culture Front

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A new arts venture is in town. Brush Art Ventures has opened softly over the past several months, but last week founder Alison Brush threw a big party. Brush’s new enterprise is housed in a Dynia “Metro Plateau” unit, perched above Broadway, near the intersection of that throughway and Highway 22.

Bonbon 12x6x4 1500 smBrush represents a handful of regional artists, exhibiting their works at 1085 West Broadway, Unit 1123. The concept is similar to that of apartment galleries popular in major arts cities like New York: Set up an exhibition in your own space and open it up to the public. Dynia’s dynamic structures, marked by high ceilings, industrial finishes and big windows are perfect for home/public gallery space.

At Brush’s recent opening for fledgling wildlife and landscape photographer Chuck Schneebeck and sculptor Amy Unfried, the place was packed. And the crowd was new. Schneebeck’s conservation work and Unfried’s connections to Jackson’s art world at large attracted sportsmen, collectors, fishing luminaries, artists, Mr. Dynia and a host of friends. Brush Art Ventures is, in fact, a gallery. Galleries have shows, and here’s hoping Ms. Brush keeps the energy going!  Check out her website: www.brushartventures.com, to see a list of represented artists. With the departure of Culture Front salons, a hole needs to be filled. Maybe it can be filled here?

Many thanks to Ms. Brush for supplying images for this post! I took a few shots; hers are better!

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Brush happens to represent noted California artist Jeremy Morganwho opens a show Friday, Feb 28th, alongside 12 local artists, at the Art Association. Morgan will be there! Thomas Macker relays that the opening reception runs 5:30 – 7:30 pm, and will feature Morgan’s work and the work of  his dedicated students from years past. This year’s workshop, “Realism to Abstraction,” offers a fresh opportunity to study with a master right here in Jackson, says Macker. www.artassociation.org .

Jeremy Morgan - Lost Horizon

Jeremy Morgan – Lost Horizon

Robert Indiana - Love 1967 - Screenprint, 14 x 14"

Robert Indiana – Love
1967 – Screenprint, 14 x 14″

Lots of new work in at Heather James Fine Art’s Jackson gallery. Including this beauty, a classic, our generation’s big art flag: Robert Indiana’s “LOVE.”  The gallery is open this month, stop in and warm to the message!  www.heatherjames.com.

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Behind the eight ball, as they say.

In the weeks leading up to my recent getaway I was so busy putting the finishing touches on freelance assignments, writing this blog and preparing for the trip that I failed to notice Meg Daly’s news about resigning her Culture Front website and its related efforts. Her reasons for doing so are there for anyone to read on Culture Front’s blog, still live.

Daly provided fresh ways for our community to look at and think about art. So many of us vigorously participated in Culture Front’s salons at The Rose. When Daly was preparing to launch her site she had the grace to invite me to tea to talk about her vision. Many would have simply and bluntly launched, without bothering to communicate to me that a new local arts blog was on the horizon.

I won’t forget that, and I’ll miss the collaboration we shared.

Thank you, Meg. Where’s my heart emoticon?