Category Archives: Contemporary Art

The Secret Life of Lance Letscher

“Once there was a boy whose head was filled with ideas. He loved to draw and think.” The Perfect Machine by Lance Letscher. Courtesy the upcoming documentary, “The Secret Life of Lance Letscher.”

“He meticulously organizes and stores these weathered materials, which he later surgically deconstructs and deploys, creating new narratives from shards of past memory.” Excerpt from Lance Letscher’s Bio. 

Lance Letscher, Big Eye

Broke a promise. Said I’d comment on the Tayloe Piggott Gallery Lance Letscher event, and now that the show has only another week on exhibit, I recommend, if you haven’t already, go and see this collection.

Letscher’s show, “Untroubled Mind,” appears to reflect a very troubled mind. A mind sliced, diced, hard-stapled together as to not fall apart, an infinity of dreams and visions swept together in concise, pointy, intricate patterns. Letscher’s collages are reminiscent in style of Hieronymus Bosch’s tumultuous and foreboding paintings, but Letscher’s works don’t convey what Bosch did: Letscher’s works are puzzles, visual crosswords and brilliant colors make them a joy to study. Men’s and women’s shoes, watches, film canisters, a myriad of containers, baby items, body parts, silverware; these are just a few images repeatedly appearing in Letscher’s art. Often he arranges his printed and cut slivers like Japanese paper umbrellas or fans.

Lance Letscher, Tulip Painter

Opening night, attendees took in an edited version of The Secret Life of Lance Letscher, a documentary about the artist. Letscher is shy, but his art speaks volumes.

Take a look: http://www.indiewire.com/2015/11/the-secret-life-of-lance-letscher-goes-inside-the-mind-of-work-of-a-collage-artist-50297/

Tears welled up. Creativity so often springs from grief, memories, the confusions and heartbreak of childhood, loss. Emotional attachments, questions unanswered. Tangled up in our brains, we think of them….but they roll away, hidden under a rug, floating into the air. An artist practicing any form may swear to recall those phantom feelings and use them….but they’re gone. We can’t present them. We can’t organize them and put them out in the open in any sort of orderly way; it’s almost impossible to  hang on to life’s minutia.

But Letscher can, and does.

Lance Letscher. Courtesy Austin Chronicle

That’s his brilliance and his bravery. He did not cotton to that stage, and I think he knew that after seeing the film, questions from the audience would be hard to elicit. What could we say?  It was a huge gift. Letscher has catalogued and dealt with life through his extraordinary art. He’s found a way to create art deeply personal, evocative and startling. And he’s able to EXPLAIN it to us. He’s held on, cut out every sliver of metal and paper, used industrial staples and turned tumult into peace.

And when you have peace, you are untroubled.

www.tayloepiggottgallery.com  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/907172962/the-secret-life-of-lance-letscher-a-documentary-fi

Fresh Lots at J.H. Art Auction; A Kansas Art Tale

Edgar Payne, Navajo Scouting Party, 24×38″ Oil. Estimate: $400,000 – $600,000

Fresh to the art market: no matter how important an artist’s work, if passed around the auction circuit too often, its value tarnishes. Flip city. That’s why the 2017 Jackson Hole Art Auction   elation over works new to the market is understandable: six oils by American illustrator W.H.D. Koerner. The works come straight from a private collection “with direct descent from the artist.”

W.H.D. Koerner (1878–1938) Citizens of the Law (1931) oil on canvas, 30 x 36″  Estimate: $75,000–$125,000

Koerner works include “Citizens of the Law,” shown above, and “New Horizons,” a “classic pioneer scene.” Both works estimate at $75,000 – $125,000. Koerner’s “Fly Fishing,” “The Bullring,” “The Price of the Old Northwest,” and “Indian Territory Demand for Tribute” round out the Koerner lots. Together these works comprise a vivid and compelling profile of the characters, times, challenges and passions of the Old West.

Edgar Payne, Carl Rungius, Robert Bateman, Tucker Smith; you’ll find works by all these iconic Western artists on the Jackson Hole Art Auction website.   No matter where they set up their easels, countless contemporary artists list the great Edgar Payne as a significant influence in their own work. 

The Jackson Hole Art Auction caps Jackson’s annual Fall Arts Festival, and is a co-production of the Gerald Peters and Trailside Galleries. A phenomenal Western Art market success, this will be the auction’s 11th year offering the finest works by living and deceased masters. The auction, now a destination in itself, continues to invite fine art consignments. Once again, the auction takes place over the course of two consecutive days: September 15th and 16th, 2017, at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For information, contact Auction Coordinator Madison Webb, via Tel: 866-549-9278 | Fax: 307-732-1600 or at www.jacksonholeartauction.com.  

Now, a brief “return from vacation” note. If you read the New York Times  Arts Section, you may have seen March 25th’s article “Arts Without Funding? It Can Be Done, Kansas Says.” 

Courtesy Hays Arts Council

Journalist Mitch Smith’s  article tells the story of Kansas’ Hays Arts Council. Its director, Brenda Meder, cuts corners wherever possible in order to save money and funnel cash into the arts. She scrubs the toilets, she makes the reception appetizers, she’s increased membership and organizes quarterly art walks “in the brick-paved downtown, where storefronts transform into makeshift galleries that draw hundreds of spectators from Hays and beyond.”

In Hays, support comes from Democrats and Republicans. It is, says one politically involved citizen, “part of our DNA here. And that’s hard to replicate in other communities.”

This is a story about a Midwest arts community making concessions, but their arts scene remains strong. It’s a great profile. And, man, look at this art! It’s fantastic! Read the story here.

Courtesy Hays Arts Council

Sketching With Bill Sawczuk; Crushing on Rob Kingwill

By Bill Sawczuk

“I don’t need a sketch to paint.”  
 
“Sketching is too time consuming.” 
 
“I don’t like pencil work.” 
 
And the real reason:
“I don’t wish to spend the time practicing to sketch.”  

 

These are reasons artists chafe against sketching, as cited by plein air painter Bill Sawczuk. In this post, I’m letting Bill do the talking. A consummate professional, he’s always thinking of composition, technique and hard work. In his mind, the definition of sketching–and its importance in the artistic process–is largely misunderstood.

Sawczuk says that the resistance to pencil work stems from the fact that many artists tend to take a pencil sketch too far.

“They labor at technique and finish. The feeling of spontaneity and freshness is gone, and an overworked sketch is the result,” explains Sawczuk. “Look at the sketches that Sorolla did of people sitting in restaurants in New York and Chicago. They were very quickly done, but they capture the attitude and character of those people.”

Bill Sawczuk is quick on the oil sketch draw. No evidence of coffee stains!

As Sawczuk is predominantly a plein air oil painter, he often uses oil as a sketching medium to do a quick study on 8-weight museum quality paper board.

“The big advantage of this material is its ability to soak in the oil paint, which allows you to keep painting on a relatively dry surface. I completed this oil sketch (above) in one hour, and it could have been quicker if I hadn’t dipped my brush in my coffee,” says the artist.

Bill Sawczuk, Conte Figure Sketch

Many world-renowned artists executed highly descriptive yet simple renderings of buildings around the globe using a pencil, Sawczuk tells us. A pencil, he says, is a handy tool, easily obtained, easily carried, and quick to use with plenty of practice.

Photo of Bill Sawczuk by Tammy Christel

“Carry a nice soft pencil and sketch pad with you…no eraser! Using an eraser might cause you to over-correct, negating the time-saving benefits of a quick sketch. Your subject might be anything, but your purpose is learning. If you are drawing from a live model, take advantage of your chance to quick sketch, and see how quickly you improve.”

Sawczuk’s ability to capture the heart of Jackson Hole’s Western culture and wildlife is unmatched. His dynamic portrait of a bull moose sold like lightning at the Art Association’s recent “Whodunnit” fundraiser sale. The painting’s power and surety, its “moose essence,” made it jump off the wall. Sawczuk was also recently featured in the prestigious Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine in that publication’s article on figure drawing, “Go Figure.”

A member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters group, Bill Sawczuk is also represented at Trio Fine Art in Jackson Hole. You know he’ll be out and painting up a storm this summer!  www.triofineart.com

Rob Kingwill for Nike

I’m old. And that’s why, when the coolest of the cool snowboarding – art crowd talk to me, it’s HUGE! The other evening I ran into Rob Kingwill at a friend’s birthday party, and I have to say about this young man: he ALWAYS smiles and says hello, he’s always positive, he’s “clear,” and he’s good to his parents.

We talked for a while. Really, Rob talked and I listened, because I’m not close to his arts group here. He creates for the joy of it; he’s not weighted with angst, but he’s also, I think, hungry and ready for more exposure in the Jackson Hole art scene. For his genre to be taken “seriously.”
To be considered….fine art?  Take a look!

AVALON7 SNOWBOARDING AND FLYFISHING FACEMASKS

It’s certainly sought after. It’s as disciplined as any other form of art. Understand the snowboard culture and you understand the art.  I think a few more pop-up shows for Kingwill and his colleagues are in order, don’t you? There are some pretty sweet sponsors we could hit up!  Check out his company on Facebook:  AVALON7.

Thanks for the talk, Rob. I learned a lot. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-kingwill-ab8487b/

 

Well Done, “Wallpaper!”; Sanders and McCauley at Altamira-Scottsdale

Art by Travis Walker

After a long winter’s lull, Spring is around the corner. If you can’t feel it in the air, you can feel it in Jackson’s art scene. In the past two weeks, art happenings popped up like crocus in 50- degree weather!

Teton Art Lab’s “Wallpaper” show was extraordinary. The Lab’s combination gallery-and-artists’ work space packed up like sardines for the show, and by the time I arrived at least two-thirds of the art had sold.

You might as well call it “The Red Dot Show.”

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Borbay Ski Barre Pop-Up! ; A.A. Teams Up with Teton Photo Group

Borbay with “Carlos Danger.” He’s not cold, he’s cool.

Picture this: An art event at a dance and fitness studio on the West Bank, featuring a young artist who discovered Jackson Hole when a patron flew him out here, flipped the young artist’s heart over enough times that he pulled up his Manhattan stakes and moved to these here hills.

Teton hills, that is. Real mountains. Rockies. Snow.

These mountains swing! And that explains how our young art hero, Borbay, is mounting his own pop-up art show and party at the swank Ski Barre on the West Bank, in Wilson, Wyoming, on March 4th, 7-9:00 pm. 

On his very own blog, Borbay weaves the tale:

“It began as… the sun was setting behind the Teton Mountains. A late summer chill descended upon the crowd, patiently witnessing a gentleman exhume, skin and dismember a lamb.  Soon, the performance became a barbecue. Huddling around a large fire spit, I turned to my left, extended a hand and introduced myself to David and Michelle Quinn. We discussed art, life and promised to continue the conversation over dinner. As our friendship blossomed, our circle expanded to include Avi Kantor, David’s partner, and Rachel Kantor, the owner of Ski Barre. On a freezing night in Victor, Idaho — we decided to collaborate on something special — a happening of our own. And so…

Borbay, “Old Town Bar”

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