Category Archives: Film

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

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

Hoffman’s World; Far Afield with Bert

THIS. BLOWS. MY. MIND.

Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24x18 in.

Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24×18 in.

Trio Fine Art’s partners Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk have taken to sending out what amount to personal diaries that reveal their feelings and processes. I’m lucky to have been physically present when all three artists create work, and we always enjoy conversations that certainly help form my own soul’s perspective.

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

But there’s nothing like reading these “diaries.” Hoffman is a dear friend. When I first arrived in Jackson her work stood out. She’s climbed a lot of ladders, and her work is highly praised. It’s thrilling to see her venture into the abstract. Her work is cliché-free. Each stroke of her brush or pastel is laden with emotion. With memory. Hoffman’s thickly layered canvases are what plein air should be: our eyes roam each surface, seeking out details. We marvel at layered textures, a dream-like, hauntingly soft view of the world. She approaches nature as the mystery it is.

Jennifer Hoffman - "Winding Through."

Jennifer Hoffman – “Winding Through.”

A year ago I had the honor of standing in for Hoffman at New York’s Salmagundi Club. Her work received a prestigious award, one of many. It was a proud day for the artist, and a heady, exciting day for me.

Here’s an excerpt from Hoffman’s blog. In it, she describes a “Eureka!” moment shared with the late, great plein air painter Greg McHuron. That day, Hoffman was frustrated with her artistic efforts, and McHuron solved the dilemma:

“…So I drew a thumbnail of what I remembered as the composition.  “Look!” [Greg] said, pointing at the saguaro in front of the mountains that I’d sketched on the napkin. “You’ve already improved on your idea!” He was right: I had subtly shifted the main elements of my design into a better version of my original composition.  Without the distraction of a million compelling details in front of my eyes, that idea became my whole focus.”

Click here to read more about Jennifer Hoffman’s work. And click here to visit her gallery, Trio Fine Art.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

TONIGHT, June 3rd, 6-7:30 pm, PLEASE join the JenTen film production team at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Help crowd fund “Far Afield,” a documentary about one of this valley’s most beloved conservationists, Bert Raynes. I’ve contributed!

“Donate and Celebrate,” as the group says. You may also visit http://igg.me/at/BertFilmJH to contribute. Contact Jennifer Tennican at 307.690.2258 or jentennican@gmail.com for more info.  

A Wildlife Art “Staycation” & Big Strategic Plans

 

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Vacation, all I ever wanted; Vacation, have to get away~~Love that song, but I can’t find a video of Belinda Carlisle actually sounding GOOD singing that song. Hmm.

“Staycation!” If you’re having one of those, and Hill Climb vroom-vroom reverberates endlessly in your brain, escape. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is a nice place to visit. Friends and I recently enjoyed a terrific gallery talk on art’s “conservation” timeline. How did artists understand the concept of conservation in Darwin’s era, and how do they understand it now? You may be up on the subject, but listening to an excellent talk on the works comprising “Darwin’s Legacy,” all the way to Carl Rungius work and provided fresh knowledge.

Image from January, 2014's NMWA "Mix'd Media" Event

Image from January, 2014’s NMWA “Mix’d Media” Event

One woman, well versed on the topics of wildlife migration, habitat and wildlife art history, kept interrupting our guide. Without bothering to raise her hand she repeatedly cut into the lecture. DON’T do that, people! Despite her static, we thoroughly enjoyed the talk, which was simultaneously informal and informative.

The museum’s next “First Sunday” event takes place April 6, 11am – 5pm. Entry is free, and the public can “can step outside their everyday experience,” watch wildlife-themed films and explore the galleries.

“With exhibitions displaying larger than life depictions of lions, tigers and cheetahs, and films that include cougar tracking in Jackson’s own Tetons backyard, our April ‘First Sundays’ program offers a sort of exotic getaway right here in Jackson Hole,” says Director of Programming and Exhibitions Becky Kimmel. “Films on view include “North America: Born to be Wild,” a journey through some of the exotic wildlife at large in North American backyards; “American Cougar,”  taking a look at Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project and “Animal Odd Couples.”  The latter film delves into entertaining and affecting cross-species relationships. Films are shown courtesy of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. 

The night we visited, we witnessed at least 50 deer grazing the museum’s dusty, windblown bluffs. Miraculous!  www.wildlifeart.org

Robert Batema -Rocky Wilderness Cougar - Collection National Museum of Wildlife Art

Robert Bateman – Rocky Wilderness Cougar – Collection National Museum of Wildlife Art

The National Museum of Wildlife Art has issued a statement regarding the institution’s adopted strategic plan. Details should be available in a few months, but for now you can plan on the museum continuing to work to build financial stability and a strong endowment, further develop its permanent collection and create high-quality visitor experiences.

Perhaps most interestingly, a reallocation of building space will occur. “Trustees, staff and volunteers have engaged in several planning exercises to address particular elements of the strategic plan, and the Museum has engaged architects and other planning and programming professionals to determine the feasibility of particular elements,” says the museum. “The Board of Trustees will discuss all the current components of the strategic plan at their forthcoming retreat and board meeting in May.”

 

 

Coach Party!

Yee haw!  The Jackson Hole Center for the Arts and 1391805197_1Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum are putting on “A Western Winter’s Eve,” a night of music, dancing and fun — and Jen Ten filmmaking — at the Center’s lobby and theater this Friday, March 14th. Tix are $15, on sale now at the Center.  Here’s the schedule:

6 – 7:30pm | Two-step to The Stagecoach Band Live in the Lobby with dance instruction by Dancers’ Workshop

7:30 – 8:30pm | See The “The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads” on the BIG SCREEN

8:30pm – 10:30pm | Disco on Center Stage after the film, boogie down with The Spartan from WYOBASS

The night’s festivities is, they say, the FINAL opportunity to see  “The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads” on the big screen in Jackson. Tennican, the woman behind the film, is also debuting a new short film. “The Stagecoach” is going national, to be distributed by American Public Television.

“Creating this film was a community effort with over 200 individuals, foundations and businesses supporting the JHHSM’s project through tax-deductible donations,” say the evening’s producers. The Stagecoach Band, great food, and dancing (for pro and non-pro two-steppers) is all part of the fun. Costumes encouraged, but not required!  Check it out on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/events/389756964493047

Courtesy Wyoming Arts. Photo: David Swift

Courtesy Wyoming Arts. Photo: David Swift